Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition celebrates 15 years with expanded support for education entrepreneurs

Monday, January 22, 2024
A diverse group of 7 educational entrepreneurs dressed in business casual clothes stand lined up on stage awaiting the results of a competition.

For the first time in the competition’s history, semifinalists get personalized, data-driven support from a start-up advisor through the Catapult virtual accelerator.

Media Contact: 

Jackie Jircitano, Catalyst @ Penn GSE Communications
814-440-2299 |

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For the first time in the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan’s (EBPC) history, semifinalists will gain access to unparalleled support—which will expand the value of the competition far beyond the possibility of winning cash prizes. Through Catapult, the Catalyst @ PennGSE virtual accelerator, each semifinalist will benefit from a personalized assessment of their venture across four focus areas as well as the dedicated, data-driven mentorship of a start-up advisor. Applications are now open.

The prestigious Milken-Penn GSE EBPC is the largest and best-funded business plan competition in education, having awarded over $2 million in cash and prizes since 2010. Winners and finalists have gone on to secure more than $200 million in follow-on funding.

The 15th annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition invites education ventures worldwide to compete for more than $250,000 in cash, prizes, and investment commitments. Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. ET on February 19, with semifinalists being announced this summer with an in-person Final Pitch Competition to be held this fall.

“For this landmark year, we challenged ourselves to add unmatched value for the exceptional entrepreneurs who may not make it to the finals,” says John Gamba, Penn GSE’s Entrepreneur in Residence who oversees the competition. “We are continually blown away by the talent and passion of the applicants and we recognize that the real magic of participating in the competition lies not just in the prize money—though we know that is consequential for many ventures—but also in the personal support extended to competitors. Through the Catapult accelerator, we’re now able to offer that on a much larger scale.”

Through the generous support of its sponsors, the competition has announced more than $250,000 in cash, prizes, and investment opportunities for finalists, including:

  • Michael & Lori Milken Family Foundation Grand Prize: $40,000

  • Cognativ Inc. Prize: $25,000

  • Magnitude Digital Prize: $10,000

  • Audience Choice Prize presented by Osage Venture Partners: $5,000

  • Investment commitment from Catalyst @ Penn GSE Investor Partner: $100,000

  • And others

“More than ever, we are thrilled to support entrepreneurs whose ventures are working to transform education and help all learners realize their full potential,” says Michael Golden, director of Catalyst @ Penn GSE.

The Milken family, several of whom are Penn graduates, embody the Ben Franklin spirit. Through successful educational entrepreneurship—from pre-K services through college education for working adults—as well as investments in educational enterprises, they 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.

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, 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.

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