PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - Jun 10, 2011) - Alexandre Scialom, one of 23 entrepreneurs in the Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Program, has been named both the first prize winner in the 2011 Milken PennGSE Education Business Plan Competition, as well as the winner of the Hewlett Foundation's Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources. The two awards include a total cash prize of $50,000 in funding to support Scialom's new company, The Coursebook.
Conducted by the Milken Family Foundation and Penn Graduate School of Education, the Milken PennGSE competition is the only education-focused business plan competition in the nation. Scialom's project was selected from a pool of nearly 200 applicants and was reviewed by 60 independent judges before being selected as a finalist. Scialom beat out eight other finalists -- including two other Kauffman Education Ventures participants -- for the top spot at a final pitch competition yesterday afternoon at the University of Pennsylvania.
Scialom also took the top honors in the Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources, a competition announced in November 2010 in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that sought to award the best business plan supporting openly licensed content. Startl is a new social enterprise dedicated to supporting the innovation of effective, affordable and accessible learning products.
The award-winning enterprise, The Coursebook, aims to connect lifelong learners with online and offline educational opportunities. As the 'Yelp of education,' the service makes it easy to discover college courses and other learning resources based on interests, peers and location.
According to Scialom, the Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Program -- an intensive, four-month program that offers participants individualized training and entrepreneurship education, coaching on a variety of business and marketing skills, guidance in connecting with financiers, and a prorated annual salary of $70,000 that enabled them to pursue their projects full-time -- was instrumental in helping him focus his business idea and enable it to grow.
"I came to Kauffman Labs with an idea, and the program gave me the support and resources I needed to refine and articulate it so I could get people to buy in to my vision," said Alexandre Scialom, a French native who came to the United States to pursue entrepreneurship. "Getting this kind of recognition is amazing."
About Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation
Part school and part business accelerator, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation is a new approach to developing the next generation of high-growth firms. Tapping the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's vast entrepreneurship knowledge and networks, the program seeks to accelerate the number and success of new firms by offering a new method for teaching and training entrepreneurs of dynamic, fast-growth, scalable businesses in a lab setting, while studying the "science of startups" in the process. For more information, visit www.kauffmanlabs.org.