theCoursebook Takes Prize in Milken-Penn GSE’s Second Annual Education Business Plan Competition

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto-Haines | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820June 9, 2011

PHILADELPHIA — Alexandre Scialom, creator of theCourseBook, has won $50,000 in the only business plan competition designed to use innovation to improve education.

Scialom, 32, of San Francisco, took the $25,000 first prize in the Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education for theCourseBook, his idea to connect lifelong learners to online and offline learning resources.  He also took the $25,000 Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources.

TheCourseBook allows users to easily search for and find third-party learning resources and offers guidance to support their professional and personal development, based on interests, peers and location.

Second prize of $15,000 was awarded to Judd Rattner, 27, and Edward Levie, 27, for Intellidemia, a syllabus management system which develops information technology solutions for higher education to help institutions meet compliance standards, enhance collaborative interactions and electronically standardize workflow.

The winners were announced by Gregory Milken of the Milken Family Foundation and Andy Porter, dean of Penn GSE. 

“This was an exceptional pool of finalists,” Porter said. “They came with creative, practical solutions that support K-adult learning and they were exceptionally well prepared to present and defend those solutions to a demanding and thoughtful group of judges.”

The Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition aims to stimulate entrepreneurship in education and connect social entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and other funders interested in improving education.

Penn GSE and the Milken Family Foundation launched the competition in 2009.

Tomorrow, Penn GSE will convene its third annual Entrepreneurship in Education Summit, a meeting of learning-industry leaders and entrepreneurs who will develop prescriptions for better government and K-12 systemic support of education entrepreneurs.

“The inaugural Entrepreneurship in Education Summit gave birth to an idea: connecting educators, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs who were interested in educational improvement,” Porter said. “There was such great energy around that idea that we’re convinced the summit will continue at Penn for years to come.”

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