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Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition and Conference

Rules and Eligibility

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 awarded a prize in the Venture Path of this Competition. (However, if a previous 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 his or her or its compliance with all of the other eligibility requirements.);
  • Anyone for whom it would be illegal to enter this Competition in his or her 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 he or she has first disclosed his or her 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$500,000 from all investors and founders since the beginning of the legal existence of the organization until the date the organization submits its Executive Summary and Application Form. 

Additionally, organizations entering the competition may not have had more than the equivalent of US$500,000 in gross revenue since the beginning of the legal existence of the organization until the date the organization submits its executive summary. Organizations that have raised more than this threshold, as determined in the sole opinion of the University, will be disqualified. Furthermore, organizations entering the Idea path of the Competition are expected to be pre-revenue and pre-investment.

Each Applicant is responsible for determining whether he, she or it is 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.

International Competition Winners

The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) intends to work with select international business plan competitions to invite their Grand Prize Winners to compete in the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (Milken-Penn GSE EBPC). These Grand Prize Winners will automatically be named as Semifinalists. If selected as Finalists, they will have an opportunity to compete in our Milken-Penn GSE EBPC Finals in October 2020 on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.


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.

The Competition may choose to hold one or more Competition paths, including an Idea path, a Venture path, or both. Applicants may enter the Idea path, the Venture path, or both.

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 his or her 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, 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 his or her 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 he or she is the creator, developer and owner of the idea, development, or technology disclosed as part of the Entry. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that 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, 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 he or she wins a prize, the Applicant will allow The Milken Family Foundation and the University to use his or her name, photograph, image, and likeness to publicize the Competition, including, for example, through use in press releases and on web sites.

Judging Procedures

In evaluating Entries, our Judges will consider the importance of the educational problem, the creativity and feasibility of the proposed solution, and the potential for widespread impact across two rounds of ratings. Judges with diverse perspectives and areas of expertise in education are crowdsourced from across the education industry. Entries are randomly selected and assigned to Judges during each round. Judges invited to serve in Round 2 may not have served as a Round 1 judge in the same Competition year. Ratings from Round 1 Judges will determine the Entries selected as Semifinalists, and ratings from Round 2 Judges will determine the Semifinalists selected as Finalists to compete for prizes at the EBPC Finals. 


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 he or she may have tax or other legal obligations in connection with accepting the prize money, and should consult his or her 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.


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 his or her 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.