End Poverty Innovation Challenge
EPIC, the flagship program for SVF, stands for the “End Poverty Innovation Challenge”. EPIC is a global competition and pipeline for outstanding social ventures that provide sustainable grass roots solutions to local poverty reduction challenges. EPIC awards winning social ventures with mentorship and financial support to help them conduct commercial proofs of concepts.
EPIC is a “Bottom-up paradigm” that facilitates sustainable market creation at the Base of the Pyramid. This is a departure from the “top down” paradigm that has fundamentally been employed by International Development agencies to fund national governments and “the haves” of a nation with “trickle down” expectations to the “have nots”.
From 2017 to 2019, EPIC was a global competition for “scaled” social ventures. In 2020 the SVF pivoted to engage the next generation of student social entrepreneurs from post-secondary institutions worldwide, in developing the next generation of social ventures that lift the livelihoods of the poor. Even as the pandemic raged in 2020, SVF was able to engage over 70 post-secondary institutions in spreading the word about EPIC. Many of these institutions were offered EPIC labs that promoted EPIC, trained students about social entrepreneurship and helped students submit their social venture applications to EPIC.