The Innovation @ Penn GSE team is always looking for new ways to support and catalyze innovation in education. The crown jewel of these efforts is the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC). In 2015, the competition launched an Idea Path – a showcase for entrepreneurs in the early stages of ideation and venture development.
Now, the EBPC is partnering with innovation leader Reimagine Education to give these entrepreneurs a larger platform. This year, the Idea Path competition will be held as part of Reimagine Education’s Awards and Conference, December 4 and 5 in Philadelphia. Education Entrepreneurs whose companies are pre-revenue and pre-investment have until September 12 to enter.
“Partnering with Reimagine Education creates a tremendous opportunity for our entrepreneurs, who will present to an audience drawn from around the globe,” said Bobbi Kurshan, Penn GSE’s Executive Director of Academic Innovation. “The feedback they receive will help these innovators jumpstart companies that can transform education.”
Reimagine Education was founded upon the premise that current pedagogical approaches are insufficient to prepare the billions of global students pursuing higher education to become the leaders, entrepreneurs, and thinkers needed in a complex global environment. Its annual conference, supported by the Wharton School, brings together international researchers, innovators, and investors who are putting new approaches to education into practice. The two-day conference will also feature the latest in education innovation research and education technology.
Yoram (Jerry) Wind, the Director of SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at the Wharton School, said Reimagine Education has three main criteria for evaluating new approaches. Is it innovative? Does it work in a way that can be demonstrated through data? Is it scalable?
Idea Path finalists won’t have data or a full plan to scale, Wind said. But they will still play an important part in the two-day event.
“If their ideas are innovative, they could find an investor or university researcher at the Reimagine conference to partner with who could help develop their concept into something that will positively impact education,” Wind said. “We really think there could be magical synergy at this conference."
Considered the most prestigious, longest-running, and well-funded education business plan competition, the EBPC has earned a name for itself by attracting innovative ideas from around the world and spotting winning education innovations early on in their growth.
Past winners of both the Idea Path and the Venture Path, which is aimed at more mature education start-ups, are already making a positive impact on education.
Many of the finalists in the 2016 Idea Path continue to develop their ventures and have found further success. Mind Right, an app that helps youth overcome the impact of trauma, recently received a Halcyon Incubator Fellowship. Classtag, a platform to help teachers and parents collaborate, has been featured in Education Week and the Huffington Post.
The competition is part of Penn GSE’s ecosystem of programs promoting innovation in education. Penn GSE also has the first Master’s program for education entrepreneurship, the Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), a unique seed fund/incubator, and VOLT, an online teaching certificate program.