By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The business school of the University of Pennsylvania has received a big gift from local businessman Richard Perlman.

The money received by the Wharton School will fund a “Perlman Prize” for students who win the school’s annual business planning competition.

Several successful businesses have already been launched through the annual competition, including an eyeglass design firm whose shop is a school bus, a high-tech materials company, and a pet insurer.

Wharton Entrepreneurship managing director Emily Cieri says the $1.65-million gift will fund a $30,000 prize each year that will help turn ideas into startups.

“Being able to announce the grand prize winner will win the Perlman Prize really adds credibility to the competition,” Cieri said today.

The contest is open to any Penn student. Cieri says about 400 students from eight schools within the university are competing this year.

The winner will be announced at the finals in April.