September 24, 2021

Milken-PennGSE Education Business Plan Competition

UPenns has asked  to post the following:

In a knowledge economy, nothing is more important than people being able to maximize their potential.  And yet, collectively we have not figured out how to reach every person – regardless of where they are intellectually, emotionally, financially, and geographically – to help them realize their potential.  Effective learning is important for individual learners, their families, their employers, their communities and their countries.  There is an urgent need to find ways to reach and educate every person.

Education – from toddlers through baby boomers – is also big business in the United States. Depending on how one counts it, education mirrors healthcare in terms of spending or falls just below it. The United States is the largest exporter of education in the world, and education is our country’s fifth largest export.  By some accounts we have the most robust system of higher education in this country, a rich diversity of K-12 education, innovative pre-K and educational entertainment industries, and over 50% of adult Americans learning on the job on any given day.

Despite the size and import of learning, we have immense challenges; many hold out the hope of entrepreneurship to help solve some of these challenges. That said, until now there hasn’t been a single education business plan competition in the world and while entrepreneurship in bio tech, software, engineering and medicine is quite robust with clusters of start ups surrounding some of the world’s great universities, nothing similar exists in education.

To address this issue, the Milken Family Foundation and Penn have come together to be a joint catalyst for innovation in education, to help “create a space” for education entrepreneurs.  To begin this process, we have put together a business plan competition and we hope –if you have an idea to change the world, that you will enter the competition.

Why Penn? Since its founding by Ben Franklin, Penn has prided itself on its ability to combine theory and practice. We have the country’s first school of medicine and school of business.  At PennGSE, this spirit has manifested itself in a rich array of entrepreneurial activities all designed to foster change in education. Our faculty, staff, and students are all committed to the teleology of change and this competition is just one manifestation of a broad and aggressive agenda – framed by real world needs and sound theory and research.

Why Milken? The Milken family – who are Penn graduates – embody the Franklin spirit and through Knowledge Universe have demonstrated successful educational entrepreneurship – from pre-K services through college education for working adults. And in their philanthropic activities, the Milken family have made education – particularly innovation in education – a cornerstone of their work.

We hope that you will enter the competition, and look forward to hearing your ideas.


Good luck!


Gregory Milken

Doug Lynch