I received this communication from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Just think: You too can earn a cash prize for formulating the best business plan for education.

Maybe it would be like the Milkens’ very own K12 virtual school business, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, makes millions of dollars, and provides a shoddy education. Study after study shows that the students in the Milken virtual schools have a high attrition rate, low test scores, and low graduation rates. They sit at home in front of a computer and guess the answers to questions on the computer. But what a great business plan! It makes a lot of money for its investors.

University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education

and the Milken Family Foundation Launch 2013 Education

Business Plan Competition

Share your idea. Change the world.

Philadelphia, PA, November 7, 2012 – The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation have opened submissions for the 2013 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC) at the newly re-launched web site www.nestcentral.org. Penn GSE’s Executive Director of Academic Innovation Dr. Bobbi Kurshan announced the competition today. The first education-focused business plan competition ever now features a total of $120,000 in prize funding, and is part of Penn GSE’s expanding NEST initiative. The 2013 EBPC will take place on Penn’s campus May 7-8, 2013.

The Milken-Penn GSE EBPC stimulates cutting-edge ideas that serve the world’s educational needs, from Pre-K to adult learning. Last year, EBPC judges selected ten worldwide finalists from over 200 applicants to compete in a live competition in Philadelphia judged by a panel of industry leaders. This year’s competition will also feature the Penn GSE NEST Conference, a gathering of industry leaders for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to gauge the pulse of entrepreneurship in education and explore new ways of fostering a culture of continuous innovation in the field. In coming months, Kurshan will announce a greatly expanded slate of NEST programming that will take place throughout the year.

The $120,000 in total funding is awarded through the following six prizes:

· The Milken Family Foundation:

o First Prize ($25,000)

o Second Prize ($15,000)

· The American Public University System Prize for Innovation in Online Education ($25,000)

· The Educational Services of America Prize for Innovation in the fields of Special Education and At-Risk Students ($20,000)

· The Erudient Education Prize for Innovation in Borderless Education ($10,000)

· The Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources ($25,000)

Penn GSE NEST launched the EBPC in 2010 as a partnership between Penn GSE and the Milken Family Foundation. The EBPC culminates with a live competition, judged by a panel of industry experts, and has more than doubled the amount of prize money and number of prizes since it was first launched. Last year’s winning plans ranged from an effort to leverage mobile technology to educate in Africa (and beyond) to a powerful text-to-audio application that is revolutionary for individuals with visual impairments and those with literacy needs around the world.


A worldwide leader in education practice, policy, and philosophy, Penn GSE is consistently at the forefront of education innovation. As part of the school’s expanding entrepreneurial effort, each summer Penn GSE invites the best, brightest, and most influential professional educators, education entrepreneurs, business leaders, and venture capitalists to the campus of the University of Pennsylvania for the annual Penn GSE NEST Conference. The Conference is a unique way to generate new ideas, debate policy, forge new collaborations, discover investment opportunities, and conduct social networking and research.

The Milken Family Foundation

The Milken Family Foundation (MFF) was established by Lowell and Michael Milken in 1982 with the mission to discover and advance inventive and effective ways to help people help themselves and those around them lead productive and satisfying lives. MFF has been at the vanguard of education reform for three decades. From founding the nation’s preeminent teacher recognition program to creating the country’s most successful comprehensive education reform system, the foundation continues to champion innovative strategies that elevate education in America and around the world. Learn more at www.mff.org.

About Penn GSE

Penn GSE is one of the nation’s premier research ed schools. A small percentage of education programs in the U.S. offer doctoral degrees, with only a tiny fraction located at flagship research universities. No other education school enjoys a University environment as supportive of practical knowledge-building as the University of Pennsylvania. Penn GSE has long been known for excellence in qualitative research, language and literacy studies, practitioner inquiry and teacher education. Over the past 15 years, Penn GSE has also developed remarkable strengths in quantitative research, policy studies, evaluation, higher education, and psychology and human development. The School is notably entrepreneurial, launching innovative degree programs for practicing professionals and unique partnerships with local educators. For further information about Penn GSE, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/.