EPIC Grand Challenge

Seeking your creative solutions for social and economic change in Wayne County, Indiana.

The Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge competition invites students to take an active role in addressing current issues within Wayne County. As a participant, you will be challenged to develop a comprehensive project plan to improve the quality of life for 25,000 county residents within the next five years. Students compete in teams of up to five members and present their project plans in four phases, with the chance to win awards at each level.


Participants may choose to develop a project plan around an initiative in one of the following three areas:

Students outside of a store

Neighborhood Development

Enhance property values as well as increase the rate of private home ownership in Wayne County neighborhoods and towns.


Create opportunities for the Wayne County workforce to improve skill levels and meet the needs of current and future employers.

Community development

Enhance the quality of life in Wayne County, making it a compelling place for current and potential residents (outside Wayne County) to live, work and play.

Home renovation, landscaping start-up wins EPIC Grand Challenge

A business start-up launched by five Earlham College students has been awarded the $10,000 prize for winning the inaugural EPIC Grand Challenge, a competition that encourages social entrepreneurship and innovation with a focus on Wayne County, Indiana.

Gateway Restoration and Foundation is both a for-profit business and philanthropic foundation, that will deliver affordable, expert home renovation and lawn care to improve the quality of life for 25,000 citizens in Wayne County by 2025 — the objective of the challenge. The start-up will merge small businesses already owned by team members.

Austin Green ‘20, Kayla Newman ‘21, Marc Gendreau ‘21, Nate Mynatt ‘20. Not pictured: Brian Pincura ‘21


The CEIC is grateful for our partnership with Forward Wayne County and its parent organization, the Wayne County Foundation, which makes the EPIC Grand Challenge possible. A collaborative organization at heart, Forward Wayne County fosters initiatives to attract, develop and retain a highly competitive workforce, working with coalitions and partners to attain measurable goals and objectives.

Acacia St. John – Program Director

Forward Wayne County

Rebecca Gilliam – Executive Director

Wayne County Foundation


For questions about the EPIC Grand Challenge, reach out to the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity.