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Below are the competition rules (“Rules”) governing The Milken-Penn Graduate School of Education Prize for Business Plans in Education (the “Competition”). These Rules may be amended at any time. The then-current Rules will be posted at this web page, so you should check back frequently; the public and Applicants will not be notified individually when the Rules are amended.

General questions or concerns about the Rules and the Competition should be sent to the Competition Director at


Any individual is eligible to enter the Competition by submitting an Entry (defined below), except the following individuals are not eligible:

  • Anyone who is under 18 years old;
  • Any Competition judge;
  • Anyone who previously was named a Finalist or Winner of a prize in this Competition. (However, if a previous finalists or winner wants to enter a new educational entrepreneurship business plan, which the University determines, in its sole opinion and determination, is unrelated to the previous winning educational entrepreneurship business plan, then the previous winning Applicant may do so, subject to their or its compliance with all of the other eligibility requirements.);
  • Anyone for whom it would be illegal to enter this Competition in their legal jurisdiction of residence;
  • Any Penn Graduate School of Education faculty, lecturer, administrator, staff, or other employee. (Note: Faculty, lecturers, administrators, staff, employees, and students from the University of Pennsylvania and its schools, centers and institutes, other than the Graduate School of Education, may enter the Competition, provided that they have first disclosed their product or service or technology or concept or intellectual property to the University’s Penn Center for Innovation or its successor (“ Penn PCI”), using the disclosure form required by Penn PCI, in order for Penn PCI to determine whether the University has an ownership interest in such product or service or technology or concept or intellectual property by virtue of its intellectual property and employment policies.

A group of individuals also may enter the Competition, so long as all of the individuals meet the requirements above for a single individual to enter. In other words, if one member of the group is ineligible to enter, the group is not eligible to enter. A corporation, partnership, or other legal entity, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, also is eligible to enter, provided it is legal for the entity to enter under applicable law. However, organizations entering the competition may not have raised more than the equivalent of US $1,500,000 from all investors during the prior twelve (12) months before the organization submits its Application Form.

Additionally, organizations entering the competition may not have had more than the equivalent of US $1,500,000 in gross revenue during the prior twelve (12) months before the date the organization submits its Application Form. Organizations that have raised more than this threshold, as determined in the sole opinion of the University, will be disqualified.

Each Applicant is responsible for determining whether they are eligible to enter the Competition, based upon these Rules and the laws governing the applicant. The University of Pennsylvania (“University”) will not make this determination for you. However, if the University determines, in good faith, at some future time, that the Applicant was ineligible to enter the Competition or submit the Entry, the University may disqualify the Entry at any time, before or after the awarding of the prizes.


To enter the Competition, an eligible Applicant must submit all of the required materials (an “Entry”).

A subset of these Applicants will be selected as finalists in the Competition and invited to present the business plan orally at the University, before judges.

A business plan based upon an idea or concept that has been previously published is eligible, provided the Applicant discloses the previous publication(s).

All entries must be submitted in the English language.

An Applicant does not transfer legal ownership of their business plan simply by entering the Competition; you retain ownership of your business plan and the legally-protectable concepts and ideas that may be patentable, copyrightable, or trademark-protectable (if any) disclosed in your submission.

However, given the nature of this Competition and its judging procedures, the Entries (including the business plans) cannot be kept confidential. Therefore, if you think your Entry contains or discloses any patentable invention (such as a potentially patentable business process), you should consult your own legal advisor before submitting your Entry, to determine whether you should take steps to protect any potentially patentable invention, trade secret, or confidential information before you enter the Competition.

While the Applicant retains the ownership of your business plan disclosed in your submission, by submission of the application the Applicant agrees that the University has the right to use the submitted materials and information for academic research and to provide it to researchers who agree not to publish your business plans, images, or any other information that would identify you or your company, including addresses and contact information.

(The Applicant is responsible for checking with any employer or others regarding policies on ownership of patentable inventions and other parts of any submission. If you are a faculty member, lecturer, administrator, staff, employee, or student at the University of Pennsylvania, the University’s then-current policies on ownership of patentable inventions and copyrightable works continue to apply to you, in connection with any Entry you make.)

By submitting an Entry, an Applicant represents that all of the information and materials comprising their Entry are original; and that the ideas, developments and/or technologies disclosed as part of his/her Entry have been created, developed, and are owned by the Applicant, or if not, that the Applicant has all rights necessary from other creators, developers and/or owners needed to submit the Entry and represent that they are the creator, developer and owner of the idea, development, or technology disclosed as part of the Entry. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the Applicant is a faculty member, lecturer, administrator, staff, employee, or student at the University of Pennsylvania, and Penn PCI has determined that the ideas, developments, and/or technologies are owned in part or in whole by the University of Pennsylvania, the Applicant must provide a letter of support from Penn PCI stipulating that a license from the University of Pennsylvania will be required to commercialize any product or service resulting from further development of the idea, development, or technology. This letter must be submitted by the Applicant, in addition to any other materials required by the Competition in the Venture path.

By submitting an Entry, an Applicant agrees not to seek any financial damages from either The Milken Family Foundation or the University for any claim, dispute, or cause of action in connection with or arising out of or related to the Competition.

By submitting an Entry, an Applicant agrees that, if they win a prize, the Applicant will allow The Milken Family Foundation and the University to use their name, photograph, image, and likeness to publicize the Competition, including, for example, through use in press releases and on web sites.

Prizes. The Competition will award a first-place prize to those Applicant(s) selected by the judges as the first-place winner, and may choose to award additional prizes to other finalists as determined by the conference committee and judges. Furthermore, additional prizes may be added to the Competition at any time and without notice. The decision of the judges is final, and cannot be appealed or challenged.

Each winner is reminded that they may have tax or other legal obligations in connection with accepting the prize money, and should consult their own tax and legal advisors. If a winner does not accept the prize money for any reason within sixty (60) days after being declared a winner, the prize will be forfeited and used to award prize money in a future competition.

Miscellaneous. The Competition, these Rules, the awarding of Prizes, and any other matter related to or arising out of or in connection with the Competition will be governed by Pennsylvania law, without regard to its principles of conflicts of law, and without regard to the residency or citizenship of any Applicant or judge.

An Applicant or an Entry may be disqualified by the judges or the University for any reason. As an example only, the University may disqualify an Applicant if the University learns that an Applicant has violated any of these Rules.

If an Applicant does not want a particular judge or group of judges to participate in judging their Entry (because, for example, the Applicant knows of a particular conflict of interest that the judge might have, or the judge is affiliated with a competitor of the Applicant), the Applicant may make a request to the Competition Director, who will consider the request. However, the University will not notify the Applicant whether the Applicant’s request was or will be accepted or denied.

After an Applicant submits an Entry, the Applicant may not contact or attempt to contact any of the Competition judges regarding the Applicant’s business plan or Entry, or this Competition.


EBPC judges are sourced from a dynamic ecosystem of investors, educators, researchers, entrepreneurs, and other leaders across the education industry. The EBPC relies on its judges’ informed perspectives and diverse areas of expertise to evaluate entries, provide feedback, and determine which entries advance to subsequent competition rounds.

Entries are randomly assigned to judges. In evaluating entries, judges consider the importance of the educational problem addressed, the creativity and feasibility of the proposed solution, and the potential to support marginalized communities and equitable outcomes for all learners. Further, judges rank the overall strength of each entry with respect to other assigned entries and consider whether or not they would fund an entry’s business plan.

At the EBPC Finals, a distinguished panel of education leaders is assembled to review and judge final pitch presentations and determine the final prize winners.


Applications & Eligibility

When does the application period open and close?
The 2024 application period closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, February 19.

Who should apply to the EBPC?
The EBPC welcomes entrepreneurs with innovative ideas in education from around the world. Applicants are encouraged to explore how their product or solution can be applied to address issues in the field of education and impact teaching, learning, and education outcomes.

Do I have to be a student at or affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania to apply?
No affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania of any kind is required to apply. The EBPC is open to education entrepreneurs worldwide.

Who is ineligible to apply for the EBPC?
Visit the Eligibility section for more information.

Is there an entry fee to nominate someone for the Prize?
There is no entry fee. It is free to apply.

My team includes multiple co-founders. Can we apply as a team?
Yes, teams are eligible to apply. However, you must specify one team member to serve as the primary applicant and point of contact for the application. Further, there will be an opportunity on the application form to list names of additional team members.

Can I submit more than one application?
Yes, if you have multiple education ventures that are eligible for the EBPC, you may submit one application for each venture. Keep in mind that each separate application will be assessed and judged independently, and details on one application should not reference another.

If I applied last year, can I apply again?
Yes, former applicants are welcome to apply again. Your application(s) from previous years will have no bearing on ratings and results for this year’s Competition. Finalist ventures and winning ventures from previous years are not eligible to apply in subsequent years.

How long should my responses be for the open-ended prompts?
Responses to each of the prompts should be a minimum of 200 characters and a maximum of 2,000 characters.

Can we save our application prior to submitting and complete it at a later time?
Yes, you can save your progress and return to your application at a later time.

Is it possible to edit my application after it has been submitted?
No, it is not possible to alter an application that has been submitted, but you can email if you need to correct or supply any additional information. No changes or updates to an application will be accepted after the deadline.

Judging & Selection

How will judges assess my application?
Visit the Judging Procedures section.

Will Semifinalists be announced?
Yes, the semifinalists will be announced in May 2024.

Will Finalists be announced?
Yes, Finalists will be announced in September. Finalists will compete in-person at the EBPC Finals in October (date and time to be announced).

Are there any requirements if I am selected as a Finalist?
Finalists are required to participate in the EBPC Finals for the opportunity to win cash and prizes. This includes making a pitch and being present for conversations with judges at the live finals in October (date and time to be announced).


What prizes can I win at the EBPC Finals?
Subscribe to our mailing list for prize and sponsor announcements.

Other questions? Email