GSE News

Penn GSE and Milken Announce 2013 Education Business Plan Competition Finalists and $120,000 in Prize Funding

April 9, 2013 – Penn GSE and the Milken Family Foundation announced 10 finalists for the 2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC), to be held on May 7-8 on the Penn campus. Education entrepreneurs from 10 early-stage start-ups will be flown to Philadelphia to compete in the final phase of the competition, which features six prizes totaling $120,000 in funding.

In its fourth year, the EBPC attracts innovative ideas from around the world–with three previous finalists landing spots on Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list of Gen-Y thought leaders who are reinventing education in 2013. The competition stimulates cutting-edge ideas–whether local or global, profit or non-profit, or preschool through adult learning–that serve the world’s educational needs. This year’s finalists were chosen by a panel of 140 experts who judged a total of 250 applications from 17 countries. The competition will be emceed by Betsy Corcoran from EdSurge, an online hub for educational technology reviews, and will feature edtech entrepreneur Geoff Ralston of ImagineK12, and keynote speaker Lord David Puttnam, Britain’s Chancellor of the Open University.

The competition is changing how the world thinks about edtech, entrepreneurs, and education,” said Dr. Bobbi Kurshan, Executive Director of Academic Innovation at Penn GSE. Our illustrious judges have an enormous range of expertise in education and entrepreneurship and have identified the best ideas out there for early start-ups in education.

2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition Finalists:

  • Holly Carter, Bykids
  • Jill Frankfort, Persistence Plus LLC
  • Marjan Ghara, BiblioNasium
  • Lida Hasbrouck, Ginkgotree
  • Victor Karkar, scrible, Inc.
  • Eve Lebwohl, Edfolio
  • Michele McKeone, Autism Expressed
  • Kimberley Munzo, ASPIREDU
  • Kathleen Schindler, UpSkill Capital
  • Preston Silverman & George Kirkland, Raise Labs, Inc.

For more information go to:  http://nestcentral.org

Penn GSE’s NEST group (Networking Entrepreneurs for Social Transformation) was conceived to catalyze innovation in education. The EBPC competition was launched in 2010 as a partnership between NEST and the Milken Family Foundation, and marks the first-ever education business plan competition.

Competition finalists will present their projects—showcasing the best and most promising new ventures in the field—to a select panel of industry leaders on the Penn campus on May 7, 2013. Funding totaling $120,000 will be awarded through the following six prizes:

  • The Milken Family Foundation First Prize ($25,000) and Second Prize ($15,000).
  • The American Public University System Prize for Innovation in Online Education ($25,000).
  • The Educational Services of America Prize for Innovation in the Fields of Special Education and At-Risk Students ($20,000).
  • The Erudient Education Prize for Innovation in Borderless Education ($10,000).
  • The Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources ($25,000).

As part of the competition, the NEST Conference will provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for finalists to consult with experts and investors in the field. Sessions featuring some of the brightest minds in educational research will explore ways that new research can support finalists’ ideas. A discussion led by entrepreneurs will focus on how to transform academic research into educational products and services that have an impact. Numerous major edtech investors will attend the two-day event.


Media Contact: Kat Stein, Penn GSE Exec. Director of Communications
katstein@gse.upenn.edu / (215) 898-9642