The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs is designed to hone the skills that undergraduate women need to advance from idea to venture creation. Through multiple rounds of competition, students demonstrate an understanding of a problem, why the problem requires a new venture to address it, and how their idea presents the best solution to the problem.
The Draper Competition is hosted and organized by the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Smith College.
The Draper Competition envisions a world in which aspiring collegiate women innovators and founders have ready access to entrepreneurship education, capital and networks.
Recognizing the barriers resulting in the underrepresentation of women across the entrepreneurial landscape, Tim Draper and Melissa Parker Draper ’77 forged a groundbreaking partnership with Smith College designed to level the playing field for aspiring female founders. Since 2013, the Draper Competition has grown from a single institution business plan contest to a national business model competition with the largest prize pool specifically for female founded ventures. The Draper Competition is the only one of its kind, focusing specifically on supporting and recognizing the entrepreneurial spirit of undergraduate women.
The early success of the Draper Competition proves that it is only the beginning. The important mission to build emerging generations of women entrepreneurs is set to explode.
Tim Draper and Melissa Parker Draper ’77
Tim Draper is the founder of the global venture capital firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and has been a part of the development of Skype, Overture, Hotmail and PLX Technologies, among many other companies. Draper and his wife, Smith alumna Melissa Parker Draper ’77, came to Smith in 2013 to talk to students about the benefits of entrepreneurship. The Drapers discuss why they chose to invest in Smith, their hopes for the future of the competition and what makes a good business plan. (2:43)