Winners announced for 2020 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

In the last decade, the competition has awarded more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes.

Media Contact: 

Jeff Frantz, Penn GSE Senior Associate Director of Communications | 215-898-3269

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OCTOBER 6, 2020, PHILADELPHIA —Third Room, a virtual platform that connects industry professionals to rural STEM schools, captured the grand prize at the 11th anniversary Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC).

CloudLabs, a cost-effective, scalable, and engaging STEM education app based in Colombia, won second place. 

Eight finalists had the opportunity to pitch their ventures to a virtual judges panel and audience of investors, researchers, and practitioners gathered via Remo—an interactive, virtual networking platform.

Having awarded more than $1.5 million in cash and prizes over the last decade, the EBPC has earned a name for itself by attracting innovative ideas from around the world and spotting winning education innovations early on in their growth. Past winners have gone on to secure more than $140 million in funding for their ventures. 

The 2020 EBPC winners:

  • Third Room captured the Michael & Lori Milken Family Foundation’s Grand Prize of $40,000 and $25,000 in Amazon Web Services Promotional credits.
  • CloudLabs won the $25,000 American Public University System Prize.
  • Fulphil, a Philadelphia nonprofit creating social entrepreneurship education for high school students,  collected the $5,000 Osage Venture Partners Audience Choice Prize.

All finalists received $1,000 in cash and $5,000 in Amazon Web Services Promotional credits. 

“This year’s dramatic disruptions including the global pandemic, social justice movement, and political battles have created an urgent need to reimagine the field of education to serve all students, especially the most marginalized and at risk,” said Catalyst Executive Director Michael Golden. “The 2020 EBPC Finalists—including winners Third Room, CloudLabs, and FulPhil—have risen to the challenge to advance STEM education, social emotional learning, and much more.” 

Previous EBPC winners include Social Cipher, MentorPro, Tassl—all of which have gone on to grow their ventures, attract investors, and have a positive impact on education.

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

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. The EBPC is now 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.

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

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