Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition announces 2021 semifinalists

Monday, June 14, 2021

Judges chose 28 semifinalists, representing five continents, whose companies are focused on issues including digital citizenship, college and career mentorship, differentiated instruction, and equitable access to online learning.

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PHILADELPHIA—The judges have selected 28 ventures as Semifinalists for the 2021 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC). Finalists, to be announced in July, will then compete on October 5 for over $130,000 in cash and other prizes.  

For more than a decade, the EBPC, considered the most prestigious and well-funded education business plan competition, has showcased ventures dedicated to issues such as improving college access and special education. But for the first time in 2021, a venture’s ability to support underserved communities and potential to increase equitable outcomes in teaching, learning, and/or education is part of the judging criteria.

These semifinalists, representing five continents, are working to solve problems in areas including digital citizenship, college and career mentorship, differentiated instruction, and equitable access to online learning.

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.

The semifinalists are:

2Sigma School (Vishal Goenka)

2Sigma School makes foundational Computer Science as accessible as Math and Science are today, across all schools and colleges globally.


9ijakids Educational Games (Titilope Adewusi, Fisayo Oludipe,Yeside Ogunremi, Dayo Amusu)

9ijakids poverty by providing quality affordable education and 21st-century skills to the African child using technology and gamification.


Abound Parenting, PBC (Joan Kelley) 

Abound creates powerful school-family partnerships that impact reading outcomes, helping parents and caregivers understand reading development, and build children's skills through daily, back-and-forth conversations.


The AI Education Project (Ora Tanner, Alex Kotran, Ehrik Aldana)

AIEDU develops culturally relevant, multidisciplinary curriculum that addresses the skills and knowledge necessary for students to thrive in and positively contribute to a society where AI and automation are increasingly a part of every industry.


Boddle Learning (Edna Martinson, Clarence Tan)

Boddle is a gamified education platform for grades K-6 that leverages AI and gameplay to transform digital learning content (such as practice & assessment questions and lesson videos) into engaging learning experiences that are simultaneously fun, personalized, and effective.


CareerContact (Monica Chan, Kahhow Lee)

CareerContact is a digital skills learning and portfolio platform that curates authentic challenges from small enterprises in Southeast Asia.


Change Up Learning (Jen Siaca Curry, Danielle DiMare)

Change Up Learning reimagines training for education and youth development professionals with a library of on-demand, equity-driven courses that are built on the science of motivation, adult learning, and behavior change with follow up support to make learning stick over time. 


City Love (Brian Caselli Jordan, Melissa Roldan-Stills, David Stills, Charlie Raboteau, Dwight Dunston) 

The City Love Show fills the void left by Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and paints a tangible, musical vision of love, hope, equity and sustainability.


Collective Kind (Anna Caroline Tehan, Anna Ellis Nesser, Clara Planel)

Collective Kind makes quality, progressive early education more sustainable, equitable & accessible for educators and working families of all backgrounds.


Common Cents (John Ta, Vivek Olumbe, Angie Zhou)

Common Cents is a tech-enabled nonprofit empowering college & underserved high school students with the knowledge to manage their money and reach financial independence. 


GABA (Candice Blacknall) 

 GABA is a career development platform and online community that matches students aspiring to healthcare careers to peer and professional tutors, mentors, and coaches based on their learning preference and desired career.  


Gladeo (Michelle Cho, Grace Cho)

Gladeo is an inclusive, next-generation career navigation platform for the future of work. 


Hello PLATO (Rachel Fisher, Julie Lutz, Brent Fisher)

Hello PLATO is an AI teaching platform built for Whatsapp (messaging apps) that can deliver personalized online learning to the 1.3B kids worldwide without internet at home. 


HeyKiddo (Nicole Lipkin) 

HeyKiddo gives parents and educators the tools to build social, emotional and leadership skills in children and intervene when deficits arise.


HomeWorks Trenton (Natalie Tung)

HomeWorks Trenton runs a free, community-based, after school residential program where Black and Brown girls can receive academic and social structure; evidence-based programming relating to academics, life skills, civic engagement, and women empowerment; and an authentic community that empowers them to become self-advocates that collectively create grassroots and systemic change.


Jara (Soraya Fouladi)

Jara bridges the digital divide in education by building the distance learning solution for low-power and low-internet communities globally.


KlickEngage (Samantha Pratt)

KlickEngage is an edtech company changing the way that children communicate their emotions and receive support.


Mathigon (Philipp Legner)

Mathigon is building the “Textbook of the Future”, to make online learning more interactive and engaging than ever before.


Pie for Providers (Chelsea Sprayregen, Kate Donaldson, Rebecca Karasik)

Pie for Providers' software helps child care providers claim government funding, so that providers can earn more money and low-income families can access care.  (Joel Weingarten, Ryall Carroll)'s mission is to demystify and democratize college readiness by putting the best-in-class, evidence-based possibility development mentorship program into the palm of every student’s hand.  (Formerly known as CR SCORE). 


Readlee (Andrew Madson, Steven Askar)

Readlee improves academic outcomes by listening to students read.


SchoolStack (Sarah Schwartz, Hal Schwartz)

SchoolStack is an online platform that empowers and guides educators in designing and maintaining student-centered learning environments that work for all children.


SuperBetter (Keith Wakeman, Jane McGonigal)

SuperBetter brings social-emotional learning to life for middle school and high school classrooms by making it practical and engaging.


Taleemabad Education Ecosystem (Haroon Yasin, Nauman Bukhari)

Taleemabad is an all-inclusive sustainable way of taking quality education to the underserved student population of Pakistan through our low-cost school franchise (championing small-scale edupreneurs), the Taleemabad App (which has over 1 million downloads) and TV and Radio broadcast (broadcast to over 8 million children per week), to ensure that learning never stops.


Talk2U (Nicolas Ferrario, Gastón Gertner, Lucila Suarez Battan) 

Talk2U is a tech-based social startup that combines storytelling, technology and positive psychology frameworks for positive behavioral change in youth on pressing issues.


TinyIvy (Zachary Silverzweig)

TinyIvy reinvented the ABCs to develop an easy, equitable, system to teach kids to read, and package this into games, curriculum, and digital tools for teachers to use in their classrooms.


Weird Enough Productions (Tony Weaver)

Weird Enough Productions is a social impact organization that uses diverse stories to empower young people and the adults that support them.


Wonder Year (Jess Stokes)

Wonder Year is an online entrepreneurship education universe for girls.


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