Aston University graduate Christos Orthodoxou founder of Class Careers has been announced as one of the winners of this year’s Big Venture Challenge, a programme for ambitious and scalable social ventures that is run by UnLtd, the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs.

After a competitive process, with over 450 social ventures expressing their interest in being part of the programme, and a resulting 110 submitting full business plans, Class Careers has been announced as one of the 40 to be part of this year’s Big Venture Challenge. The final stage of the application process required each entrepreneur to pitch in front of a Dragon’s Den style room full of investors and various business leaders including ex-BBC The Apprentice judge Margaret Mountford.

The Big Venture Challenge will provide Class Careers with support in scaling the business as well as the ability to pitch for up to £100,000 of match funding which can be used to leverage up to £500,000 of social investment.

Set up with support of BSEEN (Birmingham Skills for Enterprise and Employability Network) in August 2013, Class Careers connects school classrooms to employers through live online workshops. Class Careers has worked with employers such as Sky TV, Pinsent Masons and M&S and has had over 500 schools sign up to its service.

Over the next year Class Careers aims to secure investment to support growth and work with more schools and young people to help raise their aspirations and ultimately connect them to life changing opportunities like school leaver schemes, apprenticeships and sponsored degrees.

The founder, Christos Orthodoxou commented: “This is our third award for Class Careers and it’s a huge step forward for us. It recognises how far we have come since setting up two years ago yet recognises that we have significantly more potential going forward and I hugely look forward to taking Class Careers through these next steps.”

BSEEN offers students and graduates a great package of intensive start-up support for new ventures. Successful participants benefit from a variety of workshops, networking opportunities, tailored mentoring, grant and work space at Birmingham Science Park Aston, Birmingham City University or the University of Birmingham.

BSEEN, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, is a collaborative initiative between Aston University, University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University.

For more information about BSEEN email [email protected] or call 0121 204 5202