Twelve education business plans, and their creators, are vying for $140,000 in prize money and the opportunity to join the Education Design Studio, Inc., an incubator and seed fund, at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
The finalists in the 2014 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition hail from locales as distant from one another as Los Angeles, Calif., and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Their ideas range from a classroom workflow, grading, and analytics tool to an educational content developer for learners in Africa.
On May 13 and 14, finalists will converge in Philadelphia to pitch their ventures to an audience of investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, and practitioners. Eight prizes will be awarded in categories that include “open educational resources” or OER, innovation in online education, special education, and at-risk students.
These business plans were chosen through a crowd-sourced judging process and reviewed by the following competition sponsors:
- Branching Minds, New York, N.Y.
- eduCanon, Galesville, Md.
- Open Assembly, New York, N.Y.
- Osmosis, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Pear Deck, Iowa City, Ia.
- ProfessorWord, Philadelphia, Pa.
- Scholly, Philadelphia, Pa.
- SmartestK12, Los Angeles, Calif.
- SmartyPAL Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.
- Totus Power, San Francisco, Calif.
- UClass, San Francisco, Calif.
- Ubongo, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Last October, Education Week covered investments in the Education Design Studio from McGraw-Hill Education and Ron Packard, who was then CEO of K12, Inc., among others, as the $2.1 million hybrid incubator and seed fund that links researchers with entrepreneurs launched.
Now, they’re contributing to The Startup Blog: Ed Tech From the Ground Up, an ongoing look at the twists and turns of startup life. Indeed, the ed-tech startup world is not for the faint of heart, as this recent article describes the hard market realities of trying to sustain success.