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The biggest barrier to aspiring business school students in many parts of the world is not the ability to pass exams or write essays but a lack of local lenders to fund course fees. The evolution of online funding marketplaces, or crowdfunding platforms, is changing all that.

For Ethiopian-born Addis Tigabu, a campaign on the Indiegogo website proved critical to him taking his place at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Germany.

The school offered him a scholarship of €20,000, covering 80 per cent of the tuition fee, but on condition he found the remaining 20 per cent himself, plus his living expenses. Under German law, foreign students need proof of at least €8,000 in their bank account to get a visa.

Although he did not quite hit his target through Indiegogo, he raised the remainder on a fundraising evening held at the Frankfurt nightclub Orange Peel.

“If I had to do it again, the only thing I would do differently is to leave sufficient time,” Tigabu says, noting that what you do to raise awareness around a crowdfunding campaign is crucial to its success.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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