EPIC , the End Poverty Innovation Challenge, is a social venture development pipeline that engages the next generation of university social entrepreneurs in the development and scaling of sustainable social venture solutions to local poverty reduction challenges.
The EPIC pipeline is designed to mitigate risk for social impact investors through three integrated pipeline components:
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING
THAT ENGAGES STUDENTS IN
SUSTAINIBLE SOCIAL VENTURE DEVELOPMENT
NO POVERTY is the #1 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG's). Globally more than 700 million people and 1 in 5 children live in extreme poverty and youth are 3 times more likely than adults to experience unemployment. This condition creates generational cycles of poverty that often result in crime, civil unrest, drug use, and environmental degradation. To meet youth employment needs, 600 million jobs will have to be created over the next 15 years.
Traditional international development will not meet these needs, because it focuses on a “top down” paradigm that funds governments and the "haves" of a nation with trickle down to the "have-nots". EPIC Teams is focused on a "bottom up" paradigm by creating social ventures that create jobs and deliver affordable social impact to the "have-nots".
Given that fewer than 5% of Higher Education Institutions worldwide offer social entrepreneurship curriculum, EPIC Teams helps these Institutions offer this curriculum to their students and transition from "talking about" the SDG's to "tackling" the SDGs by engaging students in the development of local social venture solutions to local poverty reduction challenges.
EPIC Teams is a University accredited social entrepreneurship "sports like" training program that give student "players" a "step up" by enhancing the quality and competitive edge of their social venture entrants to EPIC National, Regional and Global Competitions. (Think FIFA)
EPIC Teams contribute to the EPIC global pipeline focused on scaling social ventures that deliver social impact and lift livelihoods through a global best practice development process including:
Social Entrepreneurship Mindset Training equipping student participants with skills to help their journey in life.
Grassroots development of social venture solutions to meet local poverty reduction challenges.
Competitions to determine the most outstanding social ventures that have the potential to scale.
Commercial Proof of Concepts (POC) investments for winning social ventures.
Social impact investment to help successful POC's scale utilizing social franchising.
Job prospects upon graduation for students whose Teams did not place, with winning social ventures that are scaling.
FORMATION OF EPIC NATION NON- PROFITS .
The Social Ventures Foundation forms a non-profit educational organization as the national governing body for each nation that is engaged in EPIC. The EPIC Non-Profit consists of a Board of Directors made up of prominent local nationals. This places local ownership of EPIC within each nation. The National EPIC Team Manager identifies, vets and selects outstanding Post-Secondary Institutions to receive EPIC fellowships. for the first year. The Foundation virtually delivers its accredited EPIC Teams social entrepreneurship training program to participating Universities with support of the EPIC National Team Manager.
POST SECONDARY INSTITUTION
SELECTION AND IDENTIFICATION OF UNIVERSITY TEAM COACHES.
The Social Ventures Foundation is focused on creating a sustainable accredited EPIC Teams social entrepreneurship training program at each participating Post-Secondary Institution. Given the state of post-pandemic post-secondary education, many of these institutions are facing budget cutbacks and 95% of these institutions do not offer social entrepreneurship training.
EPIC TEAMS utilize a gradual cost sharing structure that shifts the cost of the EPIC Fellowship to each participating Post-Secondary Institution over a period of up to three years: For non- profit Universities, this cost is offset through foundation or corporation support. All participating Universities must agree to extend academic credit for students who complete the EPIC Teams Program as stipulated in the MOU signed between the University and the Social Ventures Foundation.
EPIC TEAMS ASSEMBLY PROGRAM AND STUDENT SELECTION
This 30-minute live virtual student body event will promote EPIC and encourage students to apply for EPIC TEAM membership immediately after the assembly. EPIC TEAM University coaches together with the EPIC National Manager will select 25 students for EPIC TEAMS reflecting a makeup that is gender equitable, representing backgrounds from low-income households, minority and marginalized communities.
EPIC TEAMS DISCOVERY: ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY POVERTY REDUCTION CHALLENGES
EPIC Students will be engaged in EPIC Discovery Assemblies that will feature panelists made up of leaders of National non-profit organization's that are in the "front lines" of providing services to and understanding the challenges of low-income communities and populations. Their insights will help students identify and rank order specific challenges that they are interested in.
EPIC Students will then form up to 5 EPIC teams made up of up to 5 students each. at each participating University. Each Team focuses on developing a social venture solution to one selected challenge. Wherever possible, EPIC TEAMS are formed with an equitable mix of genders and skill sets including entrepreneurship, business, finance, health, engineering, and science.
The EPIC Teams engage a variety of national volunteer mentors from the private sector who deliver EPIC master classes at specific junctures in the EPIC Teams program. These include engineers, entrepreneurs, marketing and finance professionals, as well as social franchise experts recruited from Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs. The Social Ventures Foundation also recruit mentors from international corporations. For example, Deloitte, the world’s largest accounting firm, GBSN, the Global Business Schools Network and the Social Sector task force for the International Franchise Association have all agreed to provide mentors to conduct EPIC master classes.
EPIC TEAMS “IDEATION” OF SOCIAL VENTURE SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY REDUCTION CHALLENGES.
Students from each EPIC Team brainstorm, ideate and achieve consensus about a social venture concept that meets the team’s selected challenge. A "brand name" for the social venture will eventually be agreed to and announced on social media.
EPIC TEAMS CIRRICULUM
The EPIC TEAMS virtual program curriculum engages students part time to be flexibly compatible with student classroom schedules over a period of 14 to 16 weeks. EPIC Teams delivers "experiential" social entrepreneurship training that engages students in the development of local sustainable social venture solutions to local poverty reduction challenges.
EPIC Teams features master classes offered by private sector mentors in the fields of market research, financials, advertising, marketing, prototype development, social franchising training and competition preparation. The Foundation together with the EPIC Teams National Manager will manage the delivery and operation of the EPIC Teams virtual program curriculum.
EPIC NATIONS COMPETITIONS
Once the EPIC Teams curriculum is completed, students will begin training for their EPIC National competition in September of each year. EPIC Teams National Competitions will be aired on National Television within each nation. (Think "Dolphin Tank" not "Shark Tank")
EPIC televised competitions elevate student social entrepreneurs, their social ventures and their Universities to the public at large earning them national support and respect for their mission and their social venture accomplishments.
COMMERCIAL PROOF OF CONCEPTS AND SCALING UTILZING SOCIAL FRANCHISING
Each EPIC Nation competition facilitates the selection of five outstanding social ventures that have the most potential to make a social impact on fragile communities. Winning social ventures receive investments to fund their “commercial proof of concept”.
Once a successful commercial proof of concept is completed, the social venture will receive Foundation staff support to secure social impact investment so that they can begin scaling locally and then nationally utilizing a “social franchise” business model.
The Social Ventures Foundation is determined to give EPIC winners with scalable social ventures the opportunity to succeed and deliver social impact beyond their local communities.
EPIC TEAMS STUDENT ACCREDITED CERTIFICATION
All students who have completed the EPIC Teams social entrepreneurship curriculum will receive the EPIC Teams Program Certification issued by the Social Ventures Foundation. This certification grants students' academic credit from their University as stipulated in the MOU that each University signs with the Social Ventures Foundation.
Graduating Students from EPIC teams who did not place during competitions will have the opportunity to apply for jobs as “social franchisees” with scaling EPIC Social Ventures in their communities. Over time as more Post-Secondary Institutions join EPIC and more social ventures are vetted through competitions, more sustainable proof of concepts will be facilitated, and more EPIC certified students will have job opportunity possibilities with winning EPIC social ventures.
EPIC TEAMS PERFORMANCE AND IMPACT MEASUREMENT.
The EPIC program performance and impact measurements are as follows:
Key Performance Indicators:
Number of teams that complete the EPIC Teams program
Total number of participating students
Percentage of female students participating in the program
Number of winning Social Ventures launched after the program
Number of winning Social Ventures still active after 6 months, 1 year and 2 years after the program
Number of jobs created by the winning Social Ventures 2 years after the program
Program Impact Measurement:
Due to the online nature of the program and the impact measurement capabilities of the EPIC platform, we can generate more detailed impact results and correctly evaluate the programs’ impact. To achieve this, we measure outcome and output indicators throughout the entire winning social entrepreneur’s journey.
After the program, SVF will keep track of all winning EPIC Teams during two-years from an impact-measurement perspective, by sending impact assessment surveys every 6 months during the 2 years. With these surveys, we will assess if a social venture is still operating (how it’s been incorporated, how many employees were hired and therefore jobs created), how many non-paid collaborators, volunteers, interns were hired, whether they received any awards, prizes or recognitions; what UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) they contributed to if any, and gather a picture of their income, expenses, and investment that they raised.