14th annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition now accepting applications

Thursday, February 16, 2023
Audience listens attentively during the 2018 Milken-Penn GSE EBPC presentation

*Note for TV and radio: The University of Pennsylvania has an on-campus ISDN line and ready access to a satellite uplink facility with live-shot capability.

Applications are now open for the 14th annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition, which invites education ventures worldwide to compete for tens of thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. Since 2010, the Competition has awarded more than $1.8 million to ventures addressing inequities in education through innovation. Applications will be accepted through March 22, with finalists being announced in June and an in-person Final Pitch Competition to be held this October.

A collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation and the longest-running competition of its kind, the Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) has welcomed thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries, proposing solutions to the biggest problems in education. Winners have gone on to raise more than $180 million in funding.

The 2023 Milken-Penn GSE EBPC unveils new incentives and more value to competitors than years past:

  • Dedicated advisor for venture and pitch development. Through the Catalyst @ Penn GSE virtual accelerator, Catapult, finalists will receive a complimentary, personalized assessment of their venture’s development and get matched with a dedicated, strategic advisor to advance their venture and perfect their pitch before the final competition. 
  • Live, in-person finals. For the first time since 2019, finalists will deliver their pitch live and in-person, gaining more exposure among investors and potential customers at the Finals in October.
  • Promotional opportunities. Finalists will have multiple opportunities for in-person and virtual promotion, including participation in the Finalist Showcase in association with ISTE’s global conference in Philadelphia this June, and digital promotion across Catalyst’s multimedia programming.

“We’re thrilled to return to in-person Finals this year,” said Michael Golden, Executive Director of Catalyst @ Penn GSE. “Though the Virtual Finals of the last three years highlighted the impressive work of some of the brightest minds in EdTech, in 2023 we look forward to the incomparable spark of inspiration born from hundreds of innovators gathering together in-person to think creatively about supporting learners globally.”

Last year, Words Liive, an early-stage venture that develops reading literacy through contemporary music and lyrics, captured the $40,000 Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation Grand Prize. Since winning the Milken-Penn GSE EBPC, Words Liive has been accepted to A16Z's Talent and Opportunity Accelerator and was nominated by Technical.ly for 2022 invention of the year.

In addition, 2022 Globant Prize winner HeyKiddo built on their Milken-Penn GSE EBPC experience, going on to the Lions Den at the Philadelphia PACT competition and was one of only three ventures to secure seed funding commitments from local angel investors.

Learn more or apply at www.educationcompetition.org. You can also follow the conversation on social media @Catalyst @ Penn GSE or #MilkenPennGSE.

The Milken family, several of whom are Penn graduates, embody the Franklin spirit and have demonstrated a commitment to the leaders of tomorrowthrough successful educational entrepreneurship — from pre-K services through college education for working adults — as well as investments in educational enterprises. In their four decades of philanthropic activities, the Milken family has made innovation in education, as exemplified by the Milken Educator Awards and National Institute for Excellence in Teaching, a cornerstone of their work. Visit the mff.org for more information.

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research education schools. No other education school enjoys a university environment as supportive of practical knowledge-building as the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania. Penn GSE is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, as well as the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs.


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