Entrepreneurs abound at Smith,
as countless flourishing businesses run by alumnae attest.
But what potential start-ups
are brewing on campus now, taking shape in students’ minds,
destined to become the next Fortune 500 listing?
To help foster that potential,
the Center for Women and Financial Independence is launching
the , a $20,000 contest made
possible by a gift from high-profile venture capitalist Tim
The competition will kick off
on Monday, Oct. 15, with a talk, “Is the Next ‘Facebook’ Growing in a Smith House?” by Debby
Farrington ’72, founder and general partner of StarVest Partners, a New York
City-based venture capital firm.
The event, which is free and
open to the public, will begin at 4:30 p.m. in Neilson Browsing
Room. A reception precedes Farrington’s
talk at 4 p.m.
The Draper Business Plan Competition
will invite students to submit their entrepreneurial ideas
October 15 through April 15, 2013. First prize is a $10,000
award, plus a full scholarship to Draper University of Heroes,
a 10-week program in Silicon Valley that nurtures entrepreneurs
through the business-creation process, with mentoring and
coaching from experts.
Tim Draper, known for his free-spirited
approach to venture capital (and sometimes referred to as “the
Riskmaster”), created the Draper University of Heroes for likeminded entrepreneurs
who are willing to think and create beyond convention. Draper’s wife, Melissa,
graduated from Smith in 1977, and his mother, Phyllis, is a member of the Class
Farrington, who will join the
Smith College Board of Trustees next year, was named to the
Forbes Midas 100 list of top venture capitalists in the United
States in 2008, 2009 and 2011.
Her firm, StarVest Partners,
invests in expansion-stage, technology-enabled business services
companies with a focus on software-as-a-service, ecommerce
and Internet marketing. Farrington served on the board for
key business investments, such as Fieldglass and Insurance.com.
Following her graduation from
Smith, Farrington completed an MBA at Harvard Business School.
She also serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Council and Investment Committee at Smith,
as well as a board member of the Harvard Business School Club of New York, and
a board member of Opportunity International, a leading international microfinance