Philadelphia, PA—The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce a $1.65 million contribution from Ellen Hanson Perlman and Richard E. Perlman to name The Perlman Prize to be awarded through the annual Wharton Business Plan Competition managed by Wharton Entrepreneurship. In addition to sponsoring prize monies, the Perlmans’ contribution will also provide key operational support for the Competition. The inaugural Perlman Prize winner will be announced with the culmination of the 2012-2013 Business Plan Competition at the Venture Finals on April 24, 2013.
The Wharton Business Plan Competition is an ongoing seven-month platform that helps student entrepreneurs to launch new business ideas. Created in 1998, the four phase process is open to all University of Pennsylvania students, who receive feedback and guidance on their entrepreneurial plans from Wharton faculty, Penn alumni, and industry professionals serving as judges, mentors, and workshop presenters. The Competition awards more than $100,000 in cash and prizes to participants, which helps them to jumpstart their ventures, and each year approximately 400 students and 250 judges become involved. The top eight teams compete in the Venture Finals, where they present their ideas live in front of a judging panel. The Perlman Prize will be awarded to the students whose business plan is judged at the Finals to have the greatest potential, and carries a total winnings purse of $45,000.
Wharton School Dean Thomas S. Robertson said, “Wharton is honored to have the support of Ellen and Richard Perlman, whose transformative contribution will help to grow and secure the long-term vitality of the Wharton Business Plan Competition. This exciting program has proven itself to be an invaluable asset for Penn’s aspiring entrepreneurs, and by helping them to develop their ideas into successful endeavors, the Competition benefits the broader landscape of global business.”
The Perlmans’ contribution represents the largest endowed gift to the Wharton Business Plan Competition and, as such, will provide continuing funding in perpetuity. “Entrepreneurship is in the Perlman DNA,” says Richard Perlman. “From my father Abraham’s main street Five and Dime to my son Andrew’s NYSE listed company, VRINGO, we have created and built businesses of which our family is proud. Ellen and I are extremely excited about the opportunity to support Wharton’s program to teach and encourage America’s future entrepreneurs.”
Perlman received his undergraduate degree from the Wharton School in 1968, and also holds an MBA from the Columbia Graduate School of Business. He currently serves as Executive Chairman of the Board for ExamWorks Group, Inc. (NYSE:EXAM), which he co-founded in 2008, the leading global provider of independent medical examinations, peer reviews, and bill reviews. Previously, since 1998, Perlman served as Executive Chairman of TurboChef Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:OVEN), PracticeWorks, Inc. (NASDAQ:PWKS), and VitalWorks, Inc. (NASDAQ:VWKS), of which he acquired control or co-founded and subsequently sold. In addition, Perlman is Founder and President of Compass Partners, LLC, a financial advisory and merchant banking firm specializing in middle market companies, which he established in 1995.
Past Wharton Business Plan Competition Participants
Over the years, the Wharton Business Plan Competition has seen numerous student teams go on to build successful businesses. Last year’s grand prize winner, RightCare Solutions, closed a series A round in October. Winners from the 2010-2011Competition, Stylitics and baby.com.br, have closed various funding rounds and received extensive media coverage. A notable semi-finalist from the 2009 Competition is Warby Parker, which continues to diversify the eyeglass industry with their one-price, online only, fashionable eye glass brand with a social mission to give a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. PetPlan USA, BuySafe and Innova Dynamics have also gone on to great success by building upon their foundations through participation in the Wharton Business Plan Competition.
About the Wharton School
Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of 91,000 graduates.