Finalists and over $100,000 in prize funding announced for 10th anniversary of the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

September 4, 2019

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) announced the finalists for the 10th annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) today. The seven finalists bring novel approaches to education issues, including teaching children with autism, adult education, biomedical training, and adaptive testing.

The competition finals — which will feature pitches from each finalist company, updates from past winners, and a look at the education innovation landscape — will be held Monday, October 7 on Penn’s campus. As the largest competition of its kind, the EBPC features multiple cash prizes totaling over $100,000.

The winners of the 2018 Education Business Plan Competition.
 Considered the most prestigious and well-funded education business plan competition, the EBPC has earned a name for itself over the last decade for its ability to attract innovative ideas from around the world and spot winning education innovations early on in their growth. The EBPC is part of Catalyst @ Penn GSE, a collection and facilitator of unique, innovative initiatives at Penn GSE aimed at addressing persistent and emerging problems in education.

“These finalists are working to create solutions for challenges facing every level of education,” said Michael Golden, Executive Director of Catalyst @ Penn GSE. “Our team has seen these entrepreneurs continue to grow throughout the competition, and we are excited for the public to hear their ideas.”

The 2019 finalists

AdaptiveX: A company founded to give teachers access to the power of adaptive testing in every classroom.

Arludo: Creating mobile apps and games that allow teachers to turn mobile devices into science equipment and students into scientists.

eCLOSE: Providing biomedical research training to teachers and students through an inclusive and supportive citizen science approach.

Edcelerant: Building a powerful pipeline of work-ready employees, connecting schools and employers with the next generation of software developers.

Social Cipher: A story-driven video game that gives children with autism a safe, fun, and accessible space to apply social skills.

StudyTree: An artificial intelligence-powered executive coaching platform for higher education and corporations.

The Read Read: Empowering visually impaired and blind children to independently learn and practice phonics and braille.

Twenty semifinalists for the competition were announced in April, each earning prizes worth $5,000. Since then, competitors have had access to a series of Catalyst bootcamps and webinars that have given selected entrepreneurs a foundation in fundamentals like sales, marketing, fundraising, and legal issues. The semifinalists were also showcased at several national education conferences.

Previous winners include Degreed, Tassl, and MentorPro —all of which have gone on to grow their ventures, attract investors, and have a positive impact on education. The EBPC is made possible through the generous support of the Milken Family Foundation, American Public University System, Amazon Web Services, and NEXT Shulman Rogers.