Winners announced for 2022 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

Wednesday, October 12, 2022
Top row L to R: Michael Golden (Catalyst @ Penn GSE), Nicole Lipkin (HeyKiddo), David Gonzales (Arbol) Middle row L to R: Sage Salvo (Words Liive), Bryan Dinner (Clarifi), EJ Milken (Foundations of the Milken Families) Bottom row L to R: Josh Chernikoff (Cascade Communications), Agustin David (Globant, LLC), Emily Foote (Osage Venture Partners)

Since 2010, the competition has awarded more than $1.8 million in cash and prizes.

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PHILADELPHIA —Words Liive, an early-stage venture that develops reading literacy through music and lyrics, captured the $40,000 grand prize at the 13th anniversary Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC).

HeyKiddo, a platform that helps parents and educators detect and address kids’ mental, social, and emotional challenges, won the $25,000 Globant second-place prize.

Other winners include Arbol, a start-up that provides financial and community support to low-income college students, which received the Cascade Communications Prize and Clarifi, an evidence-based, digital homework tool for teens with ADHD and attention challenges which earned the most live votes to win the Osage Venture Partners Audience Choice Prize.

Seven finalists pitched their ventures to a virtual judging panel as well as an audience of investors, researchers, and practitioners. For the second year, a venture’s ability to support underserved communities and potential to increase equitable outcomes in teaching, learning, and/or education was part of the judging criteria.

Considered the most prestigious and well-funded competition of its kind, the EBPC attracts innovative education ventures from around the world. To date, the EBPC has awarded over $1.8 million dollars in cash and prizes. Winners and finalists have gone on to earn more than $150 million in funding.

The 2022 EBPC winners:

  • Words Liive captured the Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation of $40,000.

  • HeyKiddo won the $25,000 Globant Prize.

  • Arbol earned the $10,000 Cascade Communications Prize.

  • Clarifi collected the $5,000 Osage Venture Partners Audience Choice Prize.

  • The seven finalists also received a portion of $50,000 in Amazon Web Services credits; a Padcaster video production system; grant consulting from TurboSBIR; and an iPad bundle and $1,000 cash from Catalyst @ Penn GSE.

“We congratulate the 2022 winners—along with their fellow competitors—and are inspired by their bright vision for the future of education,” says Catalyst @ Penn GSE Executive Director Michael Golden. “These entrepreneurs have created innovative and transformative solutions to address some of the biggest problems in education, including college readiness and completion, social-emotional learning and mental health, digital inclusivity, and STEM-based learning. They share a deep commitment to advancing equitable outcomes worldwide.”

Last year’s EBPC winners were Readlee, HomeWorks Trenton, Weird Enough Productions, and 9ijakids Education Games.

The EBPC is made possible through the generous support of the Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation, Globant, LLC., Cascade Communications, Osage Venture Partners, Amazon Web Services, Padcaster, and TurboSBIR.

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 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 at #MilkenPennGSE.

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