The Jacobs Education Impact Prize

Funded by the Jacobs Foundation, the Jacobs Education Impact Prize gives select GSE Education Entrepreneurship students practical and financial support to develop and launch their own social impact ventures in the education sector.

As an awardee, you will receive $10,000 to $20,000 in total funding toward your social venture. You will also join the community of Jacobs Fellows, allowing you to share knowledge and experiences with a network of leaders from all over the world.

The application period is August 15 through September 15, 2023.

 

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Why you should apply

To develop, launch, and scale your impact venture, you’ll need funding and a network of supporters and advisors. As an awardee, you’ll receive both the financial support and access to the global community of Jacobs Fellows to help you power your startup.

The Jacobs Education Impact Prize gives you a one- to two-year runway—over the course of your studies—to accelerate your social enterprise.

Participant selection

The Jacobs Fellowship includes two competitive award cycles:

  • Phase 1: Fellows will be selected from the current student cohort enrolled in the Education Entrepreneurship master’s program and receive $5,000 in support to develop their start-up.
  • Phase 2: All Fellows will participate in a second award cycle following an immersive 6- to 8-month developmental program during Phase 1 and will receive an additional $5,000 to $15,000 to launch or scale their start-up.

Eligibility

To be considered for the Fellowship, you must be a currently enrolled GSE Education Entrepreneurship student, then complete an application, including a preliminary venture case with a description of the problem, research base, solution/value proposition, and proposed measurements of impact. A personal statement addressing why you are a good fit for the fellowship and how you will maximize the initial investment of time, expertise, and capital in your venture will be required.

The application timeline:

  • The application period is August 15–September 15, 2023.
  • Finalists will be interviewed in late September.
  • Fellows will be announced in October.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Jacobs Education Impact Prize structured?

The program is designed to create a cohort of Penn GSE Education Entrepreneurship students with a commitment to launching and refining a social enterprise.

Awardees are entrepreneurial students who are building a social impact start-up.

During Phase 1, five GSE Education Entrepreneurship students will be selected to receive $5,000 in funding for their social venture. In Phase 2, one awardee of this group will be selected to receive a $15,000 grand prize, two runners-up will be awarded $10,000, and the three remaining finalists will receive $5,000.

All winners will join the global cohort of Jacobs Fellows. Winners will have an opportunity to meet other Jacobs Fellows and to participate in networking and career opportunities. Prize recipients will become a valuable addition to the Jacobs Network and contribute to the Foundation’s thematic priorities.

When can I apply?

The application opens August 15, 2023. Applications are accepted until September 15, 2023, at 11:59pm EST. Late submissions will not be considered.

What is the Jacobs Foundation?

The Jacobs Foundation invests in the future of young people so that they become socially responsible and productive members of society. Learn more at www.jacobsfoundation.org.

Are there preferred focus areas?

The Foundation has a preference for ventures focusing on improving teaching and learning outcomes for youth ages 2 to 12.

How can I use the prize money?

Winners of the Jacobs Education Impact Prize may use prize money for any expense related to their social impact start-up. This may include business expenses and salary. Pertinent taxes apply.

Am I eligible?

All currently enrolled GSE Education Entrepreneurship students interested in launching or scaling a social impact venture are eligible. Ideal candidates are those with a commitment to continue to build and develop a social enterprise after graduating with the M.S.Ed. in Education Entrepreneurship.

For-profit, hybrid, and nonprofit ventures qualify.

How do I apply?

You can apply online on the GSE Education Entrepreneurship website. We will not consider late applications, nor will we review or recognize materials submitted in any format other than the formal application. You will be able to apply online when the application portal formally opens. For any questions, please contact Carl Moog at cfmoog@upenn.edu.

How will my application be evaluated?

In reviewing your application, we evaluate the venture and the entrepreneur.

  • We will look at the social impact of your venture—how well you have identified the problem and the need, and how likely it is that your venture will be a successful intervention. In addition, we are looking for at least two proposed measurements or metrics related to the problem you are addressing.
  • We will evaluate your proposed business and revenue models—will your venture be sustainable?
  • We will also evaluate the entrepreneurs. We know that being an entrepreneur, and especially a social entrepreneur, requires a blend of passion, commitment, business savvy, persistence, and willingness to pivot and to learn, so we will be looking for those aspects in you.
  • Because receiving the award means that you will become a member of a larger cohort of Jacobs Fellows, we will be seeking awardees who are additive to that cohort.
  • We will look at how closely your social venture aligns with the thematic priorities of the Jacobs Foundation.

Note: this prize is awarded to an entrepreneur, not a team. Ventures that are created by teams are accepted, but the application must be submitted by one individual, and only that individual will receive the award and admission into the Jacobs Fellowship.

Who will review the applications?

A team of reviewers from the GSE Education Entrepreneurship program and the Jacobs Foundation will complete an initial review of applications.

Jacobs Fellows 2022-2023

Aqeela Allahyari

Aqeela Allahyari is creating environments that cultivate the intrinsic motivation to learn that all children naturally possess. She believes that curiosity should be at the core of the educational program.

As a Jacobs Fellows, her goal is to reimagine education in her region (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) by moving from the current one-size-fits-all formula to a more localized and personalized approach to teaching children. To Allahyari, success looks like this: in 12 months, she will have a new educational model for instruction based on a student’s instructional level and not on their grade level; her program will be bilingual, based on play, require fewer school hours; and support student success on national standardized tests.

Allahyari has a Bachelor of Science degree in business and accounting, as well as certificates in education innovation and improvement. She likes to make soap, cook, read novels, watch movies and travel to new places.

Sidra Alvi

Sidra Alvi is finding ways to increase equity, equality, and opportunities for children with special needs in educational and societal spaces.

 As a mother and member of the Muslim community, she has experienced the need for accommodations for differently abled children in religious and educational settings. To help these kids, her venture forms partnerships with Islamic preK-12 schools in the U.S. that lack a formal academic curriculum or special services for children. These supports will allow Muslim parents to enroll all their children in faith-based academic schools. By leveraging evidence-based research and edtech solutions, Alvi will help provide critical and inclusive learning experiences for more children in their early years.

Alvi earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a specialization in finance and a minor in English from Stony Brook University. She enjoys photography, traveling, and event planning.

Psacoya Guinn

Psacoya Guinn is building innovative and accessible education and development pathways for students experiencing homelessness in New York City (NYC). Her venture builds bridges between systems—such as the Department of Homeless Services and the Department of Education—to promote accessible and quality education for all students, regardless of their residence status.

Through her work as a trauma-informed theater teaching artist in NYC shelters, Guinn witnessed children’s lack of access to consistent well-rounded education. Her vision is of a new, model system of educational and social supports that will help mitigate child homelessness and generational trauma. Guinn’s nonprofit will help K-5 grade students experiencing homelessness by combating chronic absenteeism, enhancing learning, and increasing social and emotional development through tutoring services, mentorship, and intergenerational drama therapy workshops. 

Guinn has a background in theater education with a bachelor’s degree from Troy University. When she’s not working on her venture or as the Education Associate at the Tony award-winning New York Theatre Workshop, she works out on her Peloton or is binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy.

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta is creating innovative ways to build durable skills for student success in academics, in work, and in life. 

Gupta has been an educational entrepreneur for 15 years, serving students through tutoring, college admissions consulting, and skills training through her companies Elite Private Tutors and College Shortcuts. She is a three-time best-selling author, TEDx speaker, and has been featured on NBC, CBS, FOX, and over 100 media outlets. Her companies have been ranked as some of Houston Business Journal's fastest growing companies of 2020. She also is a philanthropist who is involved with many initiatives through her non-profit Dream Life Foundation.

Over twelve years of working with students globally, Gupta found that many students lacked critical skills needed for success in admissions, the workforce, and in life.  As a Jacobs Fellow, Gupta is building a new venture to help second generation students develop and practice future-ready skills such as marketing, communication, leadership, and collaboration. Through her program both online and in- person, her goal is to teach students the durable skills they need to succeed in admissions and in the workforce. 

Gupta is a graduate of Rice University with a double major in economics and policy studies. She is interested in education, personal development, meditation, and adventure.

Heidi Mitchell

Heidi Mitchell’s mission is to help empower and support families as they transition to home education, navigate best-fit home learning options, and build a family culture of education.

During the pandemic, the homeschool community in the United States quadrupled, growing from one million to four million families. Even with this growth, the transition to home education can be a daunting and lonely space.

As a Jacobs Fellow and CEO of Hearth and Home Education, Mitchell is developing new strategies to empower parents and children as they explore and enter this space. This includes providing a series of in-person and online events to create opportunities for connection, collaboration, and support.

Mitchell has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Brigham Young University and has teaching credentials in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. When she is not mentoring students from across the U.S., Mitchell enjoys mountain biking with her husband, playing games with her six children and three grandchildren, running, yoga, and watching episodes of Psych.

Natalia Rodriguez

Natalia Rodriguez is creating education solutions to help young girls and women access critical knowledge about their bodies, sexuality, reproduction, and relationships.

As a founder of FAM Academy, Natalia teaches women in Colombia about fertility awareness methods and other health issues. She wants to expand her project by developing a holistic sex education curriculum in Colombia and other Latin American countries. She believes that girls and women have the right to know exactly how their bodies work, to use this information to achieve their reproductive goals, and to have healthier sexual behaviors. 

Rodriguez is passionate about women's health, empowerment, and social justice. As a Jacobs Fellow, she wants to challenge her assumptions, discover and more deeply understand girls and women’s pain points around sexual health and wellness.

Rodriguez holds a bachelor's degree in business administration with a minor in design from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. She has worked with kids and teenagers on improving sexual and reproductive health for more than ten years. In her free time, Rodriguez is passionate about outdoor and experiential education.

Contact Us

For more information about the Jacobs Education Impact Prize, please reach out to Global Social Impact Coordinator, Carl Moog, at cfmoog@upenn.edu.