Winners Announced for Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition

Monday, October 7, 2019

In the last decade, the competition has awarded more than $1.2 million in prizes.

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Jeff Frantz, Penn GSE Communications | 215-898-3269

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PHILADELPHIA — Social Cipher, a company that creates story-driven video games that give children with autism a safe, fun, and accessible space to apply social skills, captured the grand prize at the 10th anniversary Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC).

Additionally, all finalists had the opportunity to pitch their ventures to an audience of investors, researchers, and practitioners gathered because the EBPC, the largest competition of its kind, has earned a name for itself by attracting innovative ideas from around the world and spotting winning education innovations early on in their growth.

Having awarded more than $1.2 million in prizes over the last decade, the EBPC is considered the most prestigious, well-funded and longest-running education business plan competition in the U.S. Past winners have gone on to secure more than $140 million in funding for their ventures.

Social Cipher, a Los Angeles-based video game studio that drives neurodiverse inclusion and empowerment through representation, captured the Milken Family Foundation $40,000 grand prize. The prize also comes with $25,000 in Amazon Web Service credits.

eCLOSE, a Philadelphia company providing biomedical research training to teachers and students through an inclusive and supportive citizen science approach, won both the $25,000 second place American Public University System prize and the $15,000 audience choice prize presented by NEXT Shulman Rogers.  

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

“In a decade of tracking companies through this competition, we see one consistent truth: an education solution is only as good as the business model that allows it to be operationalized, implemented, and sustained,” said Catalyst Executive Director Michael Golden. “Our winner, and all seven of our finalists, have shown the potential to impact education in ways that haven’t been possible before. "

Previous EBPC winners include DegreedTassl, and MentorPro —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 Milken Family FoundationAmerican Public University SystemAmazon Web Services, NASDAQ, WESTgrowth, and NEXT Shulman Rogers.  

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.


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