2018 Grand Prize Winner
Harnassing Technology for Improved Teacher Mentoring
MentorPro, a startup based in Chile, took top honors in the 2018 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition. Michael Golden, executive director of Catalyst @ PennGSE, caught up with the organization’s three founders — Magdalena Izquierdo, Carol Neumann, and Cecilia Hevia — at an education innovation conference in Chile during the first week of January 2019. Here are highlights of their conversation:
Tell us about your enterprise.
MentorPro is a management tool for web and mobile devices that optimizes and coordinates the feedback process between mentors and teachers – supporting the teacher’s professional development.
What role has the EBPC played in the MentorPro story?
For us, the Milken-Penn GSE competition was the validation of our idea. It is great when someone trusts your team and your idea. The competition gave us the impulse to keep creating MentorPro. It also helped generate some press coverage, including an article on the EBPC award we received in May in the Chilean newspaper, El Mercurio.
What have you been up to since winning the competition?
We now have our MVP (minimum viable product) ready, which is awesome. We’re going to start piloting in March, when the school year starts here in Chile. We’ve met with Enseña Chile (from Teach for All global network) and Universidad del Desarrollo to pilot with their mentors and supervisors. And we’re creating alliances with Chilean schools to pilot as well.
Our plan is to pilot during the first semester of 2019 (from March to June) and then, after the Chilean winter break, start selling during the second semester.
What is on the horizon?
Two weeks ago we were informed that we won a national competition from The Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO). We received around $35,000 dollars in government funding which we’ll use to develop our app.
What advice would you give to aspiring education entrepreneurs?
We encourage everyone to participate, even when you have just an idea or an initial prototype. Just being part of the competition will make you think and re-think about your plan, your business model, and your strategy. It certainly makes you grow. So go for it and apply – you won’t regret it!