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UPenn Milken EdTech Competition


BIZ PLAN COMPETITIONS ABOUND: In the spring, a student's mind might to turn exams and summer recess. But startups'--or startup wannabe's--minds turn to business plan competitions.

Today the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and the Milken Family Foundation announce the 10 finalists in its annual Education Business Plan Competition. (See the list below.) The competition will be held at the UPenn conference on May 7 in Philadelphia. Winners will take home a total of $120K divided among six prizes.  

The UPenn contest started in 2010 and encourages applications from young companies and aims to spotlight those deeply rooted in research. All told, UPenn received more than 250 applications from 17 countries for the competition and effectively crowd-sources the reviews of the plan, relying on 140 experts to judge them. (Editor's note: EdSurge Betsy Corcoran will emcee the event.)  

The UPenn competition may hand out the most cash. But there's plenty of competition among competitions--just in the first half of this year alone.

SXSWedu kicked off a string this year by hosting its LaunchEDU competition in early March. 

Last week, the Yale School of Management held its annual Education Leadership Conference. (It awarded its top $10K prize to Education in Sight, a nonprofit that has already screened thousands of students for vision issues and made hundreds of glasses available to needy students.)

And the Bay Area is teeming with moments-in-the-spotlight for edtech startups. Like many incubators, Imagine K12 launches its recent grads with a "demo day" that's very much like a business plan competition. (The next one will happen in early May.) The SIIA's edtech Innovation Incubator is slated for May 5-7 in San Francisco. And startup enthusiast, Jason Calacanis will hold his second LaunchEDU in Mountain View in June 26 and 27.

“The competition is changing how the world thinks about edtech, entrepreneurs, and education,” says Dr. Bobbi Kurshan, executive director of academic innovation at Penn GSE, who orchestrated the competition.

The finalists in the 2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education business plan competition are:

  • Holly Carter, Bykids
  • Jill Frankfort, Persistence Plus LLC
  • Marjan Ghara, BiblioNasium
  • Lida Hasbrouck, Ginkgotree
  • Victor Karkar, scrible, Inc.
  • Eve Lebwohl, Edfolio
  • Michele McKeone, Autism Expressed
  • Kimberley Munzo, ASPIREDU
  • Kathleen Schindler, UpSkill Capital
  • Preston Silverman, Raise Labs, Inc.

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