Big Issue Invest are calling upon early stage social businesses throughout England to apply for the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) 2015 programme which officially launches today.  The CSV programme is specifically tailored for early stage social businesses that often face challenges when it comes to securing finance.

Against the current climate of cuts and austerity, developing sustainable businesses that tackle some of society’s biggest challenges is more important than ever.

It is not necessary for applicants to be trading however proof of concept is essential.  To be considered, ventures must operate in the following sectors: arts & culture, education, employment & training, tackling homelessness, sustainable & community transport, health & social care, environment and financial inclusion.

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to pitch for up to £50K investment.  Alongside this they will be assigned at least one lead mentor from the programmes’ investment & support partners, attend professionally designed workshops and learn to how measure their social impact.

Candidates will also have the opportunity to network, work with and learn from other social entrepreneurs both on the current programme and those who have gone before.

Thirteen social businesses received investment and mentoring in 2014.

CSV 2014 investee, Alice Lacey founder & CEO of Now>Press>Play who promote learning through movement to children by immersing them in experiences delivered through wireless headsets, commented; ‘The CSV programme has been incredibly valuable to the evolution of Now>Press>Play. Apart from the loan, which is enabling us to expand and scale up our social impact, the corporate mentors have helped us to focus our vision and strategy for the company. Big Issue Invest have been on hand to support Now>Press>Play and the mentors throughout the process and we're looking forward to continuing to work with them as we build our business together.

Business 2 (PD)Circle Sports another CSV 2014 success story have just launched the, ‘Jobs for the Jobless’ campaign.  With backing from Deborah Meaden and a provocative youtube clip they are appealing to UK employers to hire young, unemployed candidates.

The CSV programme is an innovative partnership between Big Issue Invest and Barclays (as part of their commitment to impact five million young futures by 2015) with investment and support from five partners: Experian, First Ark, Fusion 21, Places for People and The University of Northampton.  CSV is also supported by the Cabinet Office, as part of the £10m Social Incubator Fund.

Kathleen Britain, Head of UK Community Investment at Barclays, said: “Our partnership with Big Issue Invest is an important part of Barclays’ broader commitment to impact five million young futures by 2015. This programme will see Barclays invest not only money, but colleagues’ time and expertise in helping social enterprises develop and grow. The CSV programme will help support a talented pool of people in developing the skills they need to fulfil their potential while adding real and significant value to society.

The programme is particularly focused on developing social businesses outside London and the South East targeting 80% of applicants based outside of these areas.

While the process is a competitive one, it is collaborative too.  It is about bringing people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds together who have one aim; helping fledgling social businesses unleash a profound and sustainable impact.

To apply, please visit

Closing date for applications is Monday, May 25th, 2015.

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