Finalists and $100k in Prize Funding Announced for 2020 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

This year’s finalists will present their ideas on October 6 in a virtual pitch competition open to the public.

Media Contact: 
Jeff Frantz, Penn GSE Senior Associate Director of Communications

(215) 898-3269 |

*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.

Catalyst @ Penn GSE—a center for innovation at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE)—and the Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation announced the finalists for the 11th annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) today. 

The Finalists include CloudLabs, Everydae, Fulphil, Literal, Project Invent, SiLAS, Third Room, and Weird Enough Productions. The largest competition of its kind, the EBPC features multiple cash prizes totaling over $100,000 each year.

Considered the most prestigious and well-funded education business plan competition, the EBPC attracts innovative education ventures from around the world. To-date, the EBPC has awarded over $1.4 million dollars in cash and prizes. Winners and finalists have gone on to earn more than $140 million in funding.

“These groundbreaking ventures are addressing challenges made even more urgent due to the Covid-19 pandemic and social justice movement,” said Michael Golden, Executive Director of Catalyst @ Penn GSE. “Through novel technology, disruptive thinking, and a commitment to bring research to practice, these startups support educational equity in the United States and around the world.”

The 2020 EBPC Finalists were selected through a crowd-sourced judging process that includes practitioners, investors, entrepreneurs, and researchers, and more. The virtual Finals will take place October 6 and are open to the public (register at to attend).

The finalists are:

  • CloudLabs, which offers learning, training, practice, games, and motivation for future STEM professionals of the 21st century.

  • Everydae, a personalized digital tutor app leveraging adaptive micro-lessons to suit each learner's needs.

  • Fulphil, which offers social entrepreneurship education for high school students to empower youth to make impacts on their communities. 

  • Literal, which reimagines books for the next generation of readers using neuroscience and a group-chat dialogue format. 

  • Project Invent, which empowers students nationwide to invent solutions to real problems in their communities.

  • SiLAS, curricula to help special education students learn social-emotional skills through role-play in virtual environments.

  • Third Room, a booking platform to connect rural schools with industry professionals for virtual STEM classes + support. 

  • Weird Enough Productions, which uses superheroes and comic books to promote social-emotional learning and literacy.

For the first time this year, the EBPC welcomed as Semifinalists five grand-prize winners from four renowned international education business plan competitions. These celebrated international ventures—including Finalist CloudLabs—were judged alongside the other 23 semifinalists for a chance to compete in the Finals.

The EBPC is made possible through the generous support of the Milken Family Foundation, American Public University System, Amazon Web Services, Padcaster, and Osage Venture Partners.

The Milken family—several of whom are Penn graduates—embody the Franklin spirit and through successful educational entrepreneurship—from pre-K services through college education for working adults—as well as investments in educational enterprises, have demonstrated a commitment to the leaders of tomorrow. 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 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. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators, and the first-ever business plan competition devoted exclusively to educational products and programs. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit

Find more on or follow the conversation on Twitter: @CatalystPennGSE and #MilkenPennGSE.

You May Be Interested In