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

May 2, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation have announced the winners of the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC). Cash prizes totaling over $100,000 were awarded this afternoon to winning ventures aiming to make an impact in such arenas as improving teacher professional development, offering new paths for autism treatment, and an immersive way for students to learn American Sign Language.

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.

Now in its ninth year, and having awarded more than $1 million in prizes, the EBPC is considered the most prestigious, well-funded and longest-running education business plan competition in the U.S.

  • MentorPro, from New York, won both the Michael and Lori Milken Family Foundation Grand Prize ($40,000 and $25,000 in Amazon Web Services Promotional credits) and the American Public University System Prize ($20,000). MentorPro is a platform that optimizes and coordinates the feedback process, facilitating communication between mentors and teachers to boost effective teacher professional development.
  • ABAL Therapeutics, of Iowa, won the ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education Prize ($20,000). ABAL provides software that automates aspects of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), the gold standard for interventional autism treatment, allowing therapists to administer therapeutic regimens remotely.
  • Curio Learning, of Kentucky, won the Navitas Ventures Prize($20,000). Curio Learning is an online space for teachers to discover new ideas, curate them visually, and collaborate with other teachers around the world.
  • SignOn, of Michigan, won the iTutor Group Prize ($20,000). SignOn is a Virtual Immersion Program that enables American Sign Language students to immerse in 1-on-1 live sessions with the Deaf via a two-way video.

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

“Today’s winners are developing bold solutions to persistent problems in education,” said Michael Golden, Executive Director of Catalyst @ Penn GSE. “If they continue on their course, we believe they will create transformational change in the lives of learners.”

Previous finalists include DegreedTassl, and Caribu — 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 Foundation, American Public University System, Amazon Web Services, ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education, and Navitas Ventures.

The Milken family — several of whom are Penn graduates — embody the Franklin spirit and through successful educational entrepreneurship — from pre-K services through college education for working adults — as well as investments in educational enterprises, have demonstrated a commitment to the leaders of tomorrow. Visit the Milken Family Foundation for more information.

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.