Social businesses encouraged to apply for funding

Social impact business, the First Ark Group, is urging social businesses to apply for funding available through the newly-launched Corporate Social Venturing (CSV) 2015 programme.

CSV Big IssueAs one of several partners in the scheme, run by Big Issue Invest, First Ark Group will play an integral role in providing funding and mentoring to the successful applicants.

The CSV programme is tailored for early stage social businesses that often face challenges with securing finance. Those operating in the arts and culture, education, employment and training, health and social care and community transport sectors can apply. In addition the scheme welcomes applications from businesses which aim to tackle homelessness, and those which support environment and financial inclusion.

Successful companies will have the opportunity to pitch for up to £50,000 investment. They will be assigned a lead mentor, have access to a network of social entrepreneurs and benefit from a series of workshops which are all designed to help their business succeed.

Bob Taylor, CEO of the First Ark Group, said: “Our partnership with Big Issue Invest is an important part of our social investment strategy. There will never be enough investment out there, so we must make the funding available go as far as possible. The CSV project will see us invest not only money, but time from our pool of experts based here at First Ark, who will work with the successful businesses to ensure they develop and grow.

“While the application process is competitive, it is also collaborative. We bring people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds together with one simple aim – to help fledgling social businesses unleash a profound and sustainable impact." 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.