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 can receive investment of up to $15,000 to build 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 can receive $5,000 of seed funding 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 can receive up to an additional $10,000 in investment 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 up to $5,000 of seed funding for their social venture. In Phase 2, Fellows can qualify for additional investment of up to $10,000

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 2023-2024

Jade Peterson headshot

Jade Peterson

Jade is thrilled to launch her new venture, Jolt Education.  

One of the biggest challenges K-12 educators face is the lack of time and resources to create engaging, relevant, and fun lessons. As a middle school science teacher, Jade started each class with a TikTok of the day, such as a science news story or STEM career highlight. Not only did these clips engage her students but they helped them make connections outside of the classroom. 

Jolt Education is an internet add-on that enables teachers to integrate exciting and timely short-form educational video content into existing lessons to increase engagement and reduce time spent on planning and then share their work with a central community of teachers across the globe.

Jade is an experienced educator and entrepreneur who founded her first business, Funny Nuggets, The Comedy Clubhouse for Kids, while pursuing her undergraduate degrees in business and education at the University of Iowa. She is from Ankeny, Iowa. 

Jade enjoys outdoor adventures such as camping, hiking, distance running, and skiing.

Milan Butani headshot

Milan Butani

Milan is designing Weave to amplify teachers’ classroom abilities through observation, accurate evaluation, and deep understanding of the dynamics of student participation and engagement in group settings.

This new tool uses automatic voice recognition and data science techniques such as natural language processing to record group discussions and generate meaningful social insight that a teacher can act on. This insight can be configured based on the subject or topic of the discussion and highlight strengths and weaknesses according to the teacher's selection of learning goals or objectives.

Milan's early career includes supporting Edlyft (an edtech startup) in various roles from mentoring, recruitment, and management; business intelligence reporting at Modern Animal (a veterinary startup); and his most recent experience in a customer-facing sales role at Google Cloud.

 Milan earned his bachelor’s in data science from UC Berkeley. Milan is from Los Angeles, California.

Outside of his professional interests, Milan enjoys basketball, food, and video games.

Eliseo Valerio headshot

Eliseo Valerio

Eliseo’s focus is on the lack of access to formative theatre-based education that Emergent Bilinguals face in elementary schools.

His venture provides theatre-based educational programming specifically for Emergent Bilinguals to help develop motivation for learning, foster creativity, improve social-emotional awareness, and complement the early phases of language acquisition and identity building.

Eliseo has a background in theatre education at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford's Theatre, Second Stage, The New Victory Theater, the Alley Theatre, and in Mexico as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Eliseo earned his B.A. in Theater and Performance Studies with a minor in Classics from Stanford University. He is from Houston, Texas.

Outside his professional interests, Eliseo enjoys reading, writing, experiencing culture, seeing a Shakespeare play, rewatching Downton Abbey, and traveling to new places.

Victoria Rummel headshot

Victoria Rummel

Victoria is dedicated to supporting teachers in creating a more peaceful and effective learning environment in their classrooms. Inspired by her journey and the nationwide challenge of addressing behavior issues in classrooms, Victoria is creating an educational technology platform aimed at empowering educators in their classroom management skills through practical insights in immersive videos by expert teachers.

Victoria has taught in both Title 1 and International elementary schools in Austin, Texas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied Learning and Development with a specialization in literacy from the University of Texas. Victoria is originally from San Antonio, Texas.

Beyond her commitment to education, Victoria enjoys activities such as hiking, painting, and exploring new places through travel.

Toby Johnson headshot

Toby Johnson

Toby is improving children’s literacy at the global level. His venture, Phunics – Fun Phonics, is a research-supported reading program that helps kids cross the literacy chasm from the ABCs to Grade 4 reading fluency.

Success to date: 25,000+ books read.

Toby’s whole career has been in education with a focus on Pre-K–Grade 6 reading courses. He holds a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Classical Studies from DePauw University. Toby is originally from McCall, Idaho.

In his free time Toby enjoys reading, travelling, hockey, surfing, camping, and strategy games.

Contact Us

For more information about the Jacobs Education Impact Prize, please reach out to Global Programs & Grants Coordinator, Xue Yan, at yanxue@upenn.edu.