American-Made Challenges


Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize

Create impactful plans to develop strong connections and support for entrepreneurs whose businesses focus on energy technologies.

Challenge Overview

The American-Made Challenges’ Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC) Prize recognizes the nation’s most innovative incubators. Sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions at the U.S. Department of Energy, EPIC will award prizes to competitors that submit the most creative and impactful plans to develop strong clusters, connections, and support for startups and entrepreneurs whose businesses focus on energy-related technologies. 

Part of the American-Made Challenges series, the EPIC Prize asks incubators to develop strategic plans to create or bolster innovation clusters supporting startups and entrepreneurs whose businesses focus on energy-related technologies. The prize emphasizes regional engagement, including with private actors—both for- and non-profit—as well as state and local entities that can provide additional resources.

Incubators are critical to the growth of an innovation ecosystem; they help startups and entrepreneurs accelerate the launch, growth, and scale of their businesses, ultimately resulting in the development of jobs in the United States. The prize seeks to address a capital gap in supporting these critical organizations by providing funds to be applied where incubators need them most. Providing capital to enable creative, forward-thinking organizations is critical to allow these groups to think more expansively about the role of incubators in the broader regional innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Moreover, it is DOE’s hope that this funding will enable prize winners to enhance their organization’s resilience and operational sustainability.


Competitors will create presentation slides describing their strategic plan for regional cluster development. The plan should focus on how the incubator will develop relationships with regional entities to form innovation clusters, and the impact such a plan may have on the industry. Competitors must also submit a short marketing video that may be used when announcing winners. Up to 20 winning teams will be awarded $50,000 each.



Challenge Guidelines

Please review the official rules for the application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to subscribe to updates on the prize or have any questions, you may use the contact feature on the HeroX platform, or .

We’re also looking for ideas on how to best structure this contest to attract ground-breaking solutions that will support the marine energy and desalination industries. If you’re not interested in competing but want to help develop and judge the prize, .

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