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.
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.