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Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge

Our Social and Economic Impact Challenge

21st Century Obstacles Necessitate a Multidisciplinary Approach to Solutions.

The Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge is a comprehensive proposal competition focused on solving local issues in Wayne County, Indiana. It aims to improve the community through projects targeting neighborhood development, community development, and improving employability.

Forward Wayne County fosters initiatives to attract, develop and retain a highly competitive workforce. Forward Wayne County is at heart a collaborative organization, working with our coalitions and partners to attain measurable goals and objectives. Learn more →

Acacia St . John - Program Manager For Forward Wayne County

Acacia St. John
Program Director of Forward Wayne County

Rebecca Gilliam - Executive Director Of Wayne County Foundation

Rebecca Gilliam
Executive Director of the Wayne County Foundation

Creating Social and Economic Change in Wayne County, Indiana

This year we challenge you to play an active role in strengthening our community here in Wayne County by utilizing the power of integrative collaboration to improve the quality of life for 25,000 citizens in Wayne County, Indiana by 2026.

Teams can choose to address this challenge by targeting three key focus areas: Neighborhood Development, Employability, and Community Development.

Neighborhood Development

  • Stagnant property values: Develop and implement initiatives that can enhance property values in neighborhoods and towns in Wayne County, Indiana
  • Increase "home ownership": Develop and implement initiatives that will drive "private home ownership" in neighborhoods and towns in Wayne County, Indiana


  • "Upskill" the current Wayne County, Indiana workforce: Develop and implement initiatives that will help to solve the current lack of "high skilled" labor and talent to meet the demands of today's and future employers

Community Development

  • Inability to attract new residents and retain current residents to Wayne County, Indiana: Develop and implement initiatives that help to create an "environment" that current, new and potential residents (outside of Wayne County, Indiana) will find compelling to live work and play

Who Can Enter

Individuals and teams (2-5 members) that competes for the Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge must be made up of Earlham, Earlham School of Religion, or Graduate School of Education.


About the Process

The competition has four phases:

  • Elevator Pitch: A two-minute presentation accompanied by a single PowerPoint slide. (Video 8:00)
  • Cameo Round: Includes a business model canvas, a five-page paper about the project idea and a five-minute PowerPoint presentation.
  • Judges Prep Review: This is the session like seen on Shark Tank.
  • Finals Round: A comprehensive project plan and a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation.

Judges will look for innovation, social impact, quality of the materials presented and the entry’s potential for success in the marketplace.

Timeline for 2020-2021 Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge

  • Elevator Pitch: Saturday, February 20th
  • Cameo Round: Saturday, March 27th
  • Judges Prep Review: Saturday, April 17th
  • Finals Round: Saturday, May 8th

Support from the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity

In addition to sponsoring the competition, The Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity and the Earlham Global Management program host workshops on:

  • Launching a Social Business - September 22nd 2020 - Online - PowerPoint
  • Scaling and Measuring Impact - October 13th 2020 - Online - PowerPoint
  • Developing a Marketing Plan - October 20th 2020 - Online - PowerPoint
  • Business Model Canvas - October 27th 2020 - Online - PowerPoint
  • Elevator Pitch - November 10th 2020 - Online - PowerPoint
  • Developing Financial Statements - January 12th 2021 - Online - PowerPoint
  • Comprehensive Project Proposal - January 19th 2021 - Online - PowerPoint


Apply Now

To learn more about The Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge, please read the rules and eligibility guidelines. Student applications are due Thursday, February 4th at 5pm.

For More Information

For further information regarding Earlham EPIC Grand Challenge, please contact:

Gene Hambrick, Senior Executive Director Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity and Executive in Residence, hambrle@earlham.edu or 765-983-1356.

Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
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Earlham admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, age, gender and sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.