We encourage you to explore all that the Conway Center has to offer. Through education and practice, you will cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset whereby you'll recognize otherwise overlooked opportunities, develop the confidence to take calculated risks, and learn from setbacks. Through engagement with student clubs, you'll discover more about yourself—your goals, the strengths you bring, and areas where you need to improve—while developing the skills needed to succeed in the world beyond Smith.
The center is home to several curricular courses: three interdepartmental courses designed to guide students through the process of ideation to value creation and ultimately to venture launch; and two financial education courses that introduce students to the structure and operation of U.S. and world corporations and financial institutions.
IDP 146 Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship takes on a diversity of meanings, forms and structures depending on its source and context. In this course, entrepreneurship is studied from a variety of critical and emerging vantage points such as ethics, access, inclusion, culture, power, expression, agency, economic empowerment, cultural and social transformation. We will critically consider what it takes to build a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the potential of entrepreneurship to create sustained social transformations through its unique identity within and outside of the realm of economic exchange. Fall 2023; 4 credits
IDP 155 Entrepreneurship I: Introduction to Innovation
In this course, students will begin a journey towards developing an entrepreneurial mindset, gaining immediate experience with entrepreneurial innovation by generating bold solutions to problems. Students will be challenged to think about ventures that address a new, just, and increasingly decentralized world post COVID-19 using the 17 UNSDGs as a framework for projects and learn about leverage from tools provided by software and media capabilities. Students will also analyze cases about real entrepreneurs and explore their challenges, obstacles and ethical decision-making. This course is designed around individual and team-based assignments that culminate in final team presentations. Students are encouraged to enroll in IDP 156 to benefit from the immersive experiences both courses. 1 credit; S/U only. Course max: 30 students
IDP 156 Entrepreneurship II: Entrepreneurship in Practice
Building on IDP 155, students will continue developing an entrepreneurial mindset by exploring the process of planning, testing and iterating on their unique ideas, and learning innovative techniques related to Lean Launch methodology. Teams will begin mapping their ideas using the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas. Students will be exposed to the Failure Spectrum and analyze cases about failure. Students work in teams to complete daily homework assignments and a final presentation. This course is designed around individual and team-based assignments that culminate in final team presentations and may be centered around an immersive experience designed in conjunction with a leading entrepreneurship and design thinking academy which may require travel within the US. Enrollment in IDP 155 is required. 1 credit; S/U only. Course max: 30 students
GFX 100 Introduction to Global Financial Institutions
Smith faculty, alumnae industry professionals and scholars in the field provide an overview of the financial system and the role of financial institutions in the global economy; domestic and international regulation; domestic and international banking. 1 credit; S/U only.
This course serves as the gateway for the Global Finance Concentration and meets for eight weeks during the first-half of the Fall semester.
ACC 223 Financial Accounting
The course, while using traditional accounting techniques and methodology, focuses on the needs of external users of financial information. The emphasis is on learning how to read, interpret and analyze financial information as a tool to guide investment decisions. Concepts rather than procedures are stressed and class time will be largely devoted to problem solutions and case discussions. A basic knowledge of arithmetic and a familiarity with a spreadsheet program is suggested. 4 credits; not more than four credits in accounting may be counted toward the degree.
Take charge of your financial life!
In this course, the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center presents an accessible and informative set of topics, videos, and activities to help you improve your financial literacy. The course is taught by Smith College Economics professor Randall Bartlett. With his eloquent storytelling prowess, Bartlett demystifies financial topics ranging from the time value of money to taxable income, and helps you gain a firm conceptual understanding of personal finance. A strong foundation in financial literacy will empower you to ask the right questions when managing your own financial affairs throughout your life.
BIO 101 Modern Biology for the Concerned Citizen
A course dealing with current topics in biology that are important in understanding important issues in today’s modern world. Many of these issues present important choices that must be made by individuals and by governments. Topics include cloning of plants and animals, human cloning, stem cell research, genetically modified organisms, CRISPR, bioterrorism, emerging infectious diseases such as coronavirus, Ebola, Zika and West Nile, gene therapy, DNA diagnostics and forensics, genome projects, human origins, human diversity, species extinction and de-extinction and others. The course includes outside readings and in-class discussions.
CCX 120 Community-Based Learning: Ethics and Practice
Service learning, civic engagement, community-based participatory research and community service are familiar terms for describing forms of community-based learning (CBL) in higher education. Theorists and practitioners continue to debate how students and faculty can best join partners to support community-driven goals in areas nearby colleges and universities. Students consider these issues through exploring the literature of community engagement and learning from the experiences of those who practice its different forms. CCX 120 serves as a gateway course for the Community Engagement and Social Change Concentration. Students are introduced to the varied opportunities available at the college for engaging with communities. 2 credits; S/U only
EGR 100 Engineering for Everyone
EGR 100 serves as an accessible course for all students, regardless of background or intent to major in engineering. Students develop a sound understanding of the engineering design process, including problem definition, background research, identification of design criteria, development of metrics and methods for evaluating alternative designs, prototype development, and proof of concept testing. Working in teams, students present their ideas through oral and written reports. Reading assignments and in-class discussions challenge students to critically analyze contemporary issues related to the interaction of technology and society. Organized around different themes, multiple sections. Engineering majors are required to take this course. Those students considering majoring in engineering are strongly encouraged to take EGR 100 during their first year. Enrollment limited to 20.
ECO 230 Urban Economics
Economic analysis of the spatial structure of cities — why they are where they are and look like they do. How changes in technology and policy reshape cities over time. Selected urban problems and policies to address them include housing, transportation, concentrations of poverty, financing local government. Prerequisite: ECO 150.
ECO 238 Inequality and Economic Growth
An examination of the global dynamics and determinants of inequality in income and wealth and its interplay with economic growth, from antiquity to the present. Beginning with an overview of growth at the country level, the course moves to examine the division of income between labor and capital, inequality in capital ownership, and inequality in labor earnings, ending with a discussion of policy proposals to address increasing inequality. Topics covered include the labor share, the concentration of wealth at the top, the skill premium, intergenerational mobility, managerial compensation, the racial and gender wage gaps, and offshore tax evasion. Prerequisite: ECO 150 or 153, or the equivalent.
ECO 338 Household Finance and Inequality
How do individual economic decisions shape wealth inequality and economic mobility? This course examines topics at the intersection of household finance, the field of economics studying the financial decisions of households, and the economics of inequality. Beginning with an overview of the historical dynamics and theories of wealth inequality, we study recent empirical and theoretical findings on how household preferences and beliefs, financial portfolio investment mistakes, financing frictions, entrepreneurship, and taxes affect the distribution of wealth.
GOV 232 Comparative Political Economy
How do politics shape markets, and markets shape politics? Why do some countries become rich while others stay poor? Why does capitalism take many different forms, and what do these differences mean for societies, firms, and individuals? This class will be divided into three units. First, we will explore the core theoretical texts of political economy. Second, we learn about the “varieties of capitalism” and the different forms that transitions from communism to capitalism have taken. The third unit focuses on the political economy of development, the role of politics in creating patterns of wealth and poverty around the world. Enrollment limit of 24.
PHI 204 Philosophy and Design
Design is one of the most pervasive human activities. Its effects—intended or unintended—permeate our lives. Questions abound about the role of design and the significance of being able to exercise it and of being subject to it. For example: Are there particular pleasures, as well as special responsibilities, characteristic of designing? What is the nature of deprivation imposed upon people when they lack the opportunity or the knowledge to share in the design of their living or working conditions? How much control do designers actually have over the meaning and use of what they design?
PHI 238 Environmental Ethics
This course prepares students to understand and critically evaluate various ethical perspectives on human beings’ interactions with nature and these perspectives’ applications to environmental issues. The principal ethical perspectives studied are anthropocentrism, biocentric individualism, environmental holism and environmental pragmatism. We study representative descriptions and defenses of these perspectives and examine in particular whether they can validly and effectively help us resolve environmental problems. We study controversies about biodiversity, wilderness protection, global climate change and pollution. Enrollment limited to 40.
PPL 220 Public Policy Analysis
Analysis of the institutions and processes of public policy formation and implementation. Explores models designed to explain policy and also those whose purpose is to “improve” policy. Develops and uses analytical tools of formal policy analysis. Examines the debate over the possible and proper uses of these analytic tools.
Gain practical experience in the areas of business, consulting, finance and entrepreneurship by joining the Smithies in Business, the Consulting Club, or the Smith College Investment Club.
Smithies in Busines
Smithies in Business (SIB) provides students who are interested pursuing careers in business, consulting, and entrepreneurship with resources and networking opportunities. Each semester's programming is tailored to the interests and needs of undergraduate students who want to build a strong network of professional women and would like to explore fields that require business experience and knowledge. SIB also runs SmiTHrift, the student initiative to open a thrift store on campus.
Smith College Consulting Club
The Smith College Consulting Club works collaboratively whether it be to prepare members for job recruitment, or to encourage interest in the field. Practicing various types of consulting cases throughout the year, members gain insight into how different types of case studies are executed. Fostering relationships with classmates by bringing in alum speakers, visiting consulting companies, the club aims to guide students how to apply what they learn in the classroom in the real world. The Startup Consulting Group is a hands-on, competitive opportunity for members to apply their skills in the service of Pioneer Valley startups who are preparing for investor presentations and launch.
Smith College Investment Club
Launched in fall 2002 under the sponsorship of WFI, the Smith College Investment Club gives Smith students the opportunity for hands-on experience with investing while making a positive financial contribution to the Smith community. SCIC sponsors on-campus lectures by financial professionals and off-campus trips to Wall Street and beyond, and is open to all interested students.
SCIC student members are responsible for managing and investing two portfolios: a traditional investment portfolio currently valued at approximately $200,000; and an SRI/ESG focused portfolio currently valued at approximately $130,000. Club members meet on a regular basis to discuss asset allocation, analyze fund performance and decide how to successfully operate a well-diversified portfolio. Dividends from the traditional portfolio are donated to Smith College Financial Aid (75 percent) and to the Student Government Association (25 percent) for campus-wide activities.
Competitions & Funding
Generate, share, test and refine your new venture ideas through a variety of competitions, challenges, and pitch contests. Apply for funding if you want to explore experiences designed to bolster your entrepreneurial, personal finance or business knowledge.
The national Draper Competition, held each Spring at Smith College, is a business model competiton designed to hone the skills that undergraduate women need to advance from idea to venture creation. Through three rounds of competition, students demonstrate an understanding of a problem, why the problem requires a new venture to address it, how their idea presents the best solution to the problem, and what resources, partnerships and activities it takes to successfully launch the venture.
Elevator Pitch Contest (Fall)
90 SECONDS—is all the time students have to present a business, product or service idea to their peers, local entrepreneurs and a panel of judges. Contestants may use one 3x5 index card; no props allowed. A cash prize pool of $1,000 will be distributed based on the quality of the pitch and the viability of the solution. For-profit, non-profit and hybrid solutions are welcome.
Shark Tank (Spring)
90 SECONDS—is all the time students have to present a business, product or service idea to their peers and faculty/staff mentors. Teams then receive feedback on ways to improve the content and quality of their presentation. A cash prize pool of $2,500 will be distributed based on the quality of the pitch and the viability of the solution. For-profit, non-profit and hybrid solutions are welcome.
Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship (Spring)
The Conway Center sponsors monetary prizes in entrepreneurship open only to currently enrolled Smith students. Students are judged on the viability of the venture and the quality of their presentations. Winners are determined by combining scores from a pitch to a panel of judges and their trade-show-style exhibits.
- Best Overall Venture: $2,500
- Best S.T.E.A.M. Venture: $1,500
- Best Sustainability Venture: $1,500
- Best Social Venture: $1,500
- Best Pitch: $1,000
- Best Trade Show Exhibit: $1,000
- Brodsky Prize for Engineering Entrepreneurship: $1,000
Note: Judges for the Shark Tank and Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship are not affiliated with the Draper Competition. Winning a prize at either has no bearing on a Smith team’s status in the Draper Competition and vice versa.
Applications for a Student Project Scholarship are considered on a rolling basis. Applications for Student Project Scholarships are considered on a rolling basis until funds have been exhausted.
Scholarships are granted to students interested in supplementing their entrepreneurial or business education course studies, developing a value creation entity, or experimenting with prototyping. Scholarships may be used for costs associated with research or personal projects, launching a business venture, course-related activity or conference attendance.
- Must be in good academic standing at Smith College.
- Must not graduate from Smith College prior to utilizing the funds.
- Must have completed all paperwork necessary to receive payments from Smith College.
Students are limited to: (i) one approved request each academic year and (ii) up to $1,000 in total funding. *Petitions for larger grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Note: Scholarships may not be used to fund an internship experience or to purchase computer equipment.
2022 Draper Competition Winners
CONGRATULATIONS to all participants! We encourage you to continue to pursue your passions and let us know how we might continue to support your endeavors. Thank you to everyone who supported this year's competition: faculty, mentors, application readers, judges and sponsors. Without you, we could not highlight and celebrate these impressive students and their projects.
Winning Smith Teams
2nd Prize: Sarah Bingham '22, Ritual Glaze Co.
Keep it Going Prize: Julieta Michelin Salomon '25 and Belen Rugiero Mejia '22, Lucrativity
2021 Elevator Pitch Contest Winners
The 20th annual Elevator Pitch Contest, held on November 29, 2021, featured promising Smith students vying for the opportunity to represent Smith at the regional collegiate competition in April. The following teams were awarded monetary prizes:
- Top Pitch - $500
Juliana Makonise '25, Book Pact Africa
- Grinspoon Rep - $300
Handi Lu '25, Advertising Hand Dryers
- Keep it Goin' - $100 each
Peris Mwangi '23, Nuru Capital
Mary Tran '25, Study Buddy
2022 Grinspoon EI
- Sarah Bingham '22, Ritual Glaze Co.
- Asmae Lichir AC'23, PathoPacket
- Belen Rugerio Mejia '22 and Julieta Michelin Salomon '25, Lucrativity
Elevator Pitch Contest
- Juliana Makonise '25, Impumelelo Career Network
2022 Shark Tank Winners
- Best Product Pitch - $250
Sarah Bingham '22 - Ritual Glaze Co.
- Best Service Pitch - $250
Juliana Makonise '25, Impumelelo Career Network
The Conway Center aims to provide students with information on entrepreneurial and financial education opportunities both on and beyond the Smith College campus.
The Amplify Competition is now closed. You can check the website to view the public gallery.
Amplify is a new initiative sponsored by the Wurtele Center for Leadership that offers you an opportunity to gain the skills, coaching and platform you need to share your knowledge and perspectives with a public audience. It is a forum where you can take what you’re learning in an academic setting and use it to develop a public voice by experimenting with different media, including public writing, speaking, and art. Through Amplify’s events, workshops and one-on-one coaching and feedback, you’ll develop a piece that you’re proud to share with the world. Amplify culminates with a chance to submit your work to the Amplify Competition.
As a student entering a rapidly changing economy and geo-political climate, you need every edge you can get. Knowledge of and experience using the Bloomberg Terminal is that edge. Bloomberg is a terminal-bound financial services platform that provides analysis and quotes for equities (stocks) and indices, global company and economic data, real-time and historical industry and market news, and advanced analytical and data functions. It is an industry standard in the financial services and investment banking industries.
Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC), also known as Bloomberg Certification, is a self-paced e-learning course that provides a visual introduction to financial markets and the core functionality of the Bloomberg terminal. It takes ~8 hours to complete and progress is saved automatically. After finishing BMC, Bloomberg provides a "Certificate of Completion."
Deadline: Rolling during 2022-23
Applications for a Conway Center Student Project Scholarship are considered on a rolling basis. Scholarships are granted to students interested in supplementing their entrepreneurial or financial/business education course studies or furthering the development of exploration and experimentation with a value creation entity. Students are limited to: (i) one approved request each academic year and (ii) up to $1,000 in total funding. *Petitions for larger grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Scholarships may be used for costs associated with research or personal projects, startup ventures, course-related activity or attendance at conferences not covered by the SGA Conferenve Fund.
- You must be in good academic standing at Smith College.
- You must not graduate from Smith College prior to utilizing the funds.
- You must have completed all paperwork necessary to receive payments from Smith College.
Successful applicants will receive funds, disbursed as reimbursements through the Controller's Office, after completion of the approved activity and presentation of lessons learned to members of the review committee.
The Leaders for Equity-Centered and Action-Based Design (LEAD) Scholars Program is a one-year cohort program that focuses on building leadership capacity through both examining leadership through a social justice lens and learning skills of facilitation and design for social change. The Wurtele Center for Leadership and the Office for Equity and Inclusion are partnering to create a program with the mission of equipping students with the skills to apply equity-centered design to address some of our greatest social inequities.
Last day of every month
In honor of Amber Wigdahl, who died before realizing her dreams, Amber Grants started in 1998. An Amber Grant of $10,000 is given to someone each month, and an additional $25,000 Amber Grant is received by one of the 12 monthly recipients. In the first week of each month, the winner is revealed. Applying is fast. Just take a couple of minutes to tell them about yourself and your dream for company. There is a $15 application fee required.
There is overwhelming evidence that it has wide ripple effects that are positive for society to achieve equality and empowerment for women. Women spend a large portion of the income they receive in the health and education of their children and their local economies as foundations of their communities, generating a huge economic impact. Coca Cola will provide grants as long as they meet the criteria. Amount varies per business.
Forte is an organization dedicated to helping young women develop successfully leadership skills through access to professional development, mentorship and a community of successful women. Forté offers a free self-guided Career Ready cerfiticate where you can explore potential business careers and academic paths. Each year, multiple conferences are held with career prep workshops and networking opportunties.
The Facebook Invoice Fast Track program provides certified diverse-owned businesses in the United States with an early invoice payment option. Facebook Invoice Fast Track can be utilized for invoices ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 (with some restrictions) and can help you boost your cash flow in a matter of days.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that enable small domestic companies with the potential for commercialization to participate in Federal Research / Research and Development (R / R&D). SBIR and STTR allow small companies to explore their technical potential and provide the opportunity to benefit from their commercialization through a competitive awards-based program.