Most Common Questions

Please read the FAQ’s closely. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us!

What is the selection criteria?

The SVF is looking for partners that:

Create Impact

Whether you employ Deaf people or are working to change perceptions about what Deaf people are capable of, the SVF wants to ensure your business’s impacts are aligned with creating prosperity for Deaf people everywhere.

Have Potential to Grow

Whether you cater to the general public or a niche market, your business model should be scalable and have the potential to reach beyond the present to increase the economic power of the Deaf community.

Demonstrated Leadership

Can you articulate a clear and far-reaching vision? Can you set an example for others to follow?  We want your leadership and discipline to execute on your business vision and plan and to operate with efficiency and transparency.

Offer Innovative Products/Services

Have an unique spin on an true and tried product or service offering? Have an entirely new innovative product idea?  Have a innovative approach to a service offering?  We want to know how you plan to bring this idea to market.

Who is Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) and what does CSD have to do with the Social Venture Fund (SVF)?

CSD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has provided products and services to the D/deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind communities for over 40 years.  SVF was created to combat the economic challenges that Deaf individuals often face as a result of underemployment and unemployment.  SVF will provide resources, including capital funding and subject matter expertise, to Deaf individuals interested in becoming business owners, and help their businesses create employment opportunities for other Deaf people.

Is CSD the only organization overseeing SVF?

Yes.

How is SVF funded?

CSD is committed to creating a multimillion-dollar fund to support the growth of Deaf-owned businesses.  CSD is also committed to providing expert connections, mentorship, and guidance to help the launch and operation of Deaf-owned businesses.

Is this a one-time funding opportunity?

SVF expects to have another funding cycle in the near future.  The best way to stay updated is to sign up for email updates at www.csdsvf.com.

SVF focuses on initiatives that drive social change for Deaf people. What are some examples of social changes, and how can my business be part of this?

One great example of social change is hiring other Deaf people for your business.  Another way is if your product or service could especially benefit Deaf people (even if it benefits everyone) by utilizing a skill or capability that comes naturally to the community.

My business idea is a great one, but does not offer suggestions for social change. Will you still consider my idea?

Yes. If you are a Deaf business owner, that is already an example of social change.  If your business also supports the Deaf community by hiring and employing other Deaf people, that’s even better.

Who Can Apply?

What are the eligibility requirements?

Eligibility requirements include:

  • Company owners must be 18 years or older and legal residents of the United States.
  • Businesses must be for-profit, and legally formed in the United States.
  • The company must be majority-owned by and in control of owners who are D/deaf, hard of hearing, or DeafBlind.

For more on eligibility criteria, please review the Terms of Submission.

I do not have a company formed yet. Do I need to legally form my company before I can apply?

No. However, if your application is selected for funding, you must legally form your company in the United States. SVF will provide assistance with this process.

Are hearing people allowed to apply?

Hearing people may apply as co-applicants only if the company applying for funding is majority owned and substantially in the control of at least one principal who is Deaf.

Do I need to have professional or prior background experience with my business idea to be considered?

Professional or prior background experience with your business idea is helpful, but not required.  At a minimum, you should have done research and analysis for your business idea, and develop a viable business case and model to describe as part of your application.

Does my business idea need to be in a specific field or industry?

Any and all business ideas are welcome. Of higher priority are businesses that will make a social impact benefitting the Deaf community.

Application Process

PHASE ONE

Applicants should submit an intake form at www.csdsvf.com. SVF will review all applications and contact those selected to advance to Phase Two.

PHASE TWO

  1. Screening committee will contact the eligible applicants for more information via email.
  2. SVF may decide to meet with the applicant virtually as part of the initial screening process.
  3. After a decision has been made, selected finalists will be provided with further details.

PHASE THREE

Finalists will be invited to the final interviews.

PHASE FOUR

Winners will be announced!

All communications will be primarily via email; please include the correct email address on your intake form. Also sign up for email updates at www.csdsvf.com to receive information about this cycle or future cycles.

I made a mistake or I forgot to include something when I submitted my intake form. Can I make any changes to my intake as long as the application period is still open?

SVF cannot not guarantee that we will accept your changes. You may email information to SVF@csdsvf.com for consideration.

My business idea is confidential. Will you sign an NDA?

No.  SVF will not sign NDAs because we are unable to control if another application presents a similar idea or concept.  However, SVF will maintain all information confidential, and will not share your information with any other applicant or with the public unless required to by law and/or court order.  Please review the Terms of Submission for more information at www.csdsvf.com.

What resources can I request in my application? How much money should I request?

Resources requested on your application may include mentorship, professional services, and capital funding.  There is no minimum or maximum funding amount; however, your funding request should explain how you will use the resources, including any capital funding.  Your application should also provide the timeline of your funding request, and resources.

How will my application be evaluated?

Your application will be evaluated based on how you describe your business or idea and goals, and how well your business satisfies the investment criteria.

ASL is my first language. Can I apply via video instead?

You must still complete the online intake form at www.csdsvf.com.  However, you may also upload a video to supplement your intake form.

What if I have more questions about the submission process?

Send your questions to svf@csdsvf.com.

After Applying

What should I expect after sending in my intake form?

After submitting your intake form online at www.csdsvf.com, you will receive an email confirming that we have received your application.  If we have questions about your application, we will email you.  We will also email you with your application status once we have made our selections for the second phase.

If my business is selected for funding, what does SVF expect in return?

Any funding received from SVF is not a loan or grant. SVF may require a certain percentage of equity ownership in the business in exchange for funding.  However, the specifics will vary for each selected business, based on factors such as how much funding is provided, what other resources are used, and the investment duration.

If I am selected, but my business is not successful, do I have to pay back the funding SVF provided to me?

If all contractual terms are followed, you will likely not have to pay anything back.

Will I get all the funding and resources that I asked for in my application?

If you are selected to advance to the second phase, SVF will review the funding amount and resources you are requesting, and make a determination on how much support to provide.

Can I request feedback on why my business was not selected?

SVF will not able to provide feedback on why your business was not selected.  All decisions are final.

Can I apply again in future funding cycles?

Yes. Sign up for updates about current and future cycles at www.csdsvf.com.

Miscellaneous

How can I invest in the SVF fund and be a part of this social movement?

SVF is not currently available to third-party investors.

I have more questions that aren’t answered here. Who can I contact?

Email questions to svf@csdsvf.com.

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