Big Issue Invest said it is delighted to announce the 12 winners of the Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) Challenge.

This remarkable group of early-stage social ventures demonstrate a relentless passion and determination to create a profound social impact in the following areas:  educational opportunities, regional job creation, training and work placement for disadvantaged groups and health.  The investment along with continued guidance from corporate mentors, will take the working visions of this inspiring group from the early stages to the next level of business, in turn allowing them to transform even more lives across the country.

James Fairweather, CEO of Big Issue Invest, remarked: 'The CSV Programme proves that corporate partners have a significant role to play in the development of early stage social businesses. The finale event showcased a breadth of amazing and varied social businesses from artisan craft producers Hereford Make CIC working to increase rural employment opportunities to Circle Sports training young disadvantaged people in London, providing them with work placements in the creative industries.  The enthusiasm and drive of these entrepreneurs coupled with the guidance and expertise of their corporate mentors has made this CSV Challenge a resounding success.'

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Over 200 applications were received since the CSV Challenge began earlier this year.  Successful applicants were paired with mentors and received the opportunity to pitch for a £50,000 investment from the programme, funded by corporate partners Barclays, Experian, First Ark, Fusion 21, University of Northampton and Places for People with backing from the Social Incubator Fund (Cabinet Office).  Barclays acts as lead corporate partner for the CSV programme as part of their 5 Million Young Futures ambition.

The 12 successful ventures were chosen by an expert judging panel from a short-list of 15 who were invited to take part in the Caterpillars' Cocoon event – a two-day pitching session held in Nottingham during  October.  The ventures that have received investment and ongoing support are:  Ayudante,  advent~age , Circle Sports, Digital Mums, Hereford CIC, House of St Barnabas, Mum's the Chef, Now Press Play, ParentHub, SXT Health, Swarm Apprenticeships and Talentino.

Due to the high quality of the finalists, partners will continue to work with some ventures who did not receive investment at this time.

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, many of which will support young people in disadvantaged communities.  The CSV Programme will 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 partially funded by the Cabinet Office's Social Incubator Fund (delivered by the Big Lottery Fund) in conjunction with Barclays, Experian, First Ark, Fusion 21, University of Northampton and Places for People through a partnership funding model.   Ashurst LLP is a supporting partner who provides legal guidance to ventures.  Inspire to Enterprise also supports the challenge by providing corporate mentoring to some participating social ventures.  The University of Northampton evaluates the programme as a whole and assists participants with devising a strategy to measure their social impact.

The next round of CSV will be launching in the New Year.  Please visit the website http://bigissueinvest-csv.com for further details about the programme or follow @BII_CSV on twitter for news and updates.

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