MaRS & Education Design Studio Inc. create industry leading digital EDUpreneurship program

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Media Contact: 

Melissa Hughes
Manager, Media & Community Relations
MaRS Discovery District

Kat Stein
Executive Director, Communications
Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

*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.

Toronto, Ontario and Philadelphia, PA– The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) has announced that the Education Design Studio, Inc. (EDSi), a $2.1 million hybrid incubator and seed fund built specifically for education ventures, has partnered with MaRS Discovery District, one of the world’s largest innovation hubs, to create an industry-leading blended EDUpreneurship program for its start-ups.

The Design Studio fund is a one-of-a-kind collaboration between Penn GSE and a host of seasoned venture capitalists and investors. EDSi represents a new paradigm for investors, with a model that blends the best elements of an incubator, design studio, seed fund and social impact company.

MaRS is an urban innovation hub based in Toronto connecting talent, customers, and capital.

The project combines MaRS Discovery District’s 10 years of entrepreneurship education, startup advisory and extensive edtech expertise with EDSi’s deep education expertise and industry. This year’s EDSi start-ups will be connected to experts in new business creation, tech startups and education innovation in a unique Edupreneurship program which blends in-person and online learning. The six-month program will nurture these start-ups and connect them with the resources they need to create practical, scalable solutions for the education space.

"We are thrilled to be in this new partnership with one of the world’s leading graduate schools of education and arguably the most innovative," said Krista Jones, MaRS Education Technology Cluster Lead. "Together we are building an innovative EDUpreneurship program with a scope and depth that has rarely been seen anywhere."

Leslie Mitts, CEO for EDSi said, “Competitors in our space tend to rely on three-month programs where the entrepreneurs meet every day.  By extending our program over many months, with monthly meetings in the beginning, we provide our entrepreneurs with the opportunity to think, gather data, and improve over time. The online curriculum is a critical component to keeping the important social interaction alive over this extended period.  It supports not just the culture, but also adds in a significant way to the knowledge the entrepreneurs gain and are able to use in developing their revenue models, and identifying and securing partners and customers as they build their businesses.”  

About Penn GSE

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

About MaRS Discovery District

MaRS Discovery District (@MaRSDD) in Toronto is one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs. MaRS cultivates high-impact ventures and equips innovators to drive economic and societal prosperity. MaRS provides expert advice and market research, and makes connections to talent, customers and capital. MaRS startup clients have created 6,500 jobs and, in the last three years alone, they have raised $1 billion in capital and generated $500 million in revenue.


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