Investing in Deaf Success
Is your deaf-owned business ready to take off? We’re the partner you’re looking for.
Changing Perceptions of the Deaf Community Through Entrepreneurial Success
Accelerate Your Business Growth
We’re seeking profitable deaf-owned businesses that can grow with access to capital and support.
CSD SVF Partners Receive:
CSD SVF’s equity-based investments provide capital to grow your business.
Access to Executive Consulting
All partners receive strategic consulting services from CSD, including a comprehensive review of current operations, as well as support in long-term expansion.
Work with CSD’s Professional Service Group
Address immediate business needs and support your growth through a continuum of professional resources: marketing, human resources, technology, and more.
Spotlighting Deaf Business Success with SVF Partners
What Are We Looking For in Our SVF Partners?
- Social Enterprise: The Social Venture Fund focuses exclusively on for-profit social enterprises that are committed to positive and measurable social impact. In evaluating potential investments, we employ rigorous social and financial valuation techniques to ensure that companies have the potential to provide a strong blended social and financial return.
- Alignment with Investment Areas: We invest in post-revenue companies responding to critical challenges within society with an emphasis on jobs for deaf people.
- Investment Amounts and Stage: We invest $50,000 – $1,000,000 in equity into deaf-owned businesses poised for growth. Post-investment, year-after-year, we provide our portfolio companies access to resources at Communication Service for the Deaf to help them scale quickly and deliver on their social mission.
- Change Agent Entrepreneurs: We invest in deaf inspiring leaders capable of assembling a world-class team that shares their passion and commitment to the enterprise’s sustained impact.
- Location: We primarily focus on businesses based in the United States, but welcome applications from deaf entrepreneurs in other countries.
*We use Gust.com for our application process. Gust is a website that helps businesses find sources for funding and apply for investment from organizations like CSD SVF.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is CSD SVF?
2. What is SVF’s investment criteria? Who can apply?
- Ownership must be at least 50% deaf. For example, if a business has two founders, 1 hearing and 1 deaf, that’s 50% deaf-owned.
- Businesses must be post-revenue and at least breaking even
- Business plan should show a commitment to social change for the Deaf community
- We are seeking deaf leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit who prioritize diversity, are creative thinkers, enjoy an intellectually rigorous environment, and are interested in building community and sharing and accepting feedback
- Should be a for-profit, legally formed company
- Owners must be at least 18 years old and US legal residents
- For now, only USA deaf-owned businesses meet our criteria.
3. What do you mean by "social change"?
SVF members create social change for the Deaf community in many ways. Some examples are businesses that:
- create jobs for other deaf people
- create a product or service the Deaf community needs
- use skills that come naturally to deaf people
- donate time or money back to the Deaf community
- educate hearing people about Deaf needs
4. How do I know if my business is big enough? How does CSD evaluate my business?
5. What does CSD SVF membership provide?
- SVF invests from $50,000 – $500,000 into each business
- In exchange, SVF receives part equity in the business. This is generally between 20-40%. Returns are invested back into the SVF member portfolio.
- Members receive support from CSD team to improve operations, develop marketing and human resources strategies, technological tools, and long-term goals for growth
- Members attend week-long “New Partner Onboarding” program, which allows business owners to work with CSD executives, experts, and other SVF members
6. How do I apply for SVF? What materials should I include?
Applications are processed through Gust.com. You will need to sign up for a free account to submit your materials.
The application will require the following:
- Basic Information about yourself and other founders, if any
- Company information (entity, location, stage, funding)
- Explanation of social mission (what kind of impact your company has on the Deaf community)
- A complete pitch deck
- Agreement to our Terms & Conditions
- A business plan is optional
7. What is a pitch deck?
A pitch deck provides visual support as you tell different audiences, like investors or potential partners, the story of your business. A pitch deck helps audience members visualize your business idea and energizes them to want to be part of it.
Want to learn more about creating an engaging pitch deck? We look at what makes a pitch deck successful in our ASL presentation here: https://youtu.be/1g6m3cj9ziE
8. I want to include a business plan. How do I write one?
A business plan usually contains the following: an explanation of your business concept, your target customer base, current financial information, and goals for the future. It depends on the business, but these are usually around 15-20 pages.
Want even more information on what to include? We break business plans down step-by-step in ASL here: https://youtu.be/-XkHbPjMO3w
9. Are there any more resources for learning about business plans, pitch decks, and building my business?
CSD Learns has a free “Beginning Your Business,” toolkit available here: https://csdlearns.com/teachers-toolkit/
10. How can get updates on SVF, or find you on the web?
You can sign up for email updates at the bottom of our website, and find CSD SVF on social media:
Sign Up for CSD SVF Updates