The competition is for new, for-profit, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages. Ventures with a social impact focus are eligible as long as there is a revenue-generating component to the venture. Ventures that qualify for 501(c) status are not eligible.
An existing business is eligible only if, as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2022, it has:
- received less than $25,000 in funding
- earned less than $100,000 in gross revenue
Ventures must be wholly owned by the team (i.e., investor-funded ventures will be disqualified).
Each team must have at least one eligible Team Member (see below) who is an undergraduate woman at any accredited not-for-profit college or university located in the United States. The Team Leader serves as the main contact for the team and must complete the team's application. The application must demonstration that the Team Leader played a significant role in conceiving the venture.
The competition is open to all undergraduate students currently enrolled in two- or four-year degree granting programs at accredited not-for-profit colleges or universities located in the United States. A team member who graduates any time during the 2022–2023 academic year is eligible to compete in the 2023 competition.
Each team must provide contact information for a faculty member at their school who is familiar with the team and the venture. Faculty advisors are welcome but not required to be present at Smith College on Competition Day.
Semi-Finalist teams will be sorted into tracks based on the nature of the venture. These tracks may be:
The executive summary provides a written narrative of a team’s Business Model Canvas (BMC).
Rules for executive summaries:
- MUST NOT include any information about a team’s school (omit reference in text, email, headers/footers)
- limited to two pages of consecutive text (no images may be included)
- may include one additional page of images/graphics/charts only
- should address all of the questions in the template (see below)
- must be submitted as a PDF document with Venture name as the file name (i.e., "VentureName.pdf")
Business Model Canvas
Teams are encouraged to become familiar with the Business Model Canvas (BMC). The BMC is a tool entrepreneurs use to track their progression from unproven concept to viable venture. The information required for a BMC forms the foundation for the executive summary required to be submitted with a team's application.
Can teams have male members?
While this competition is designed to highlight collegiate women entrepreneurs, male team members are eligible to participate in limited capacity and are permitted to attend the competition if your team is selected. However, the Team Leader must be an undergraduate woman.
If it is determined that a team with male members is simply “using” a female for eligibility purposes, the team will automatically be disqualified and forfeit any monetary prizes awarded to the team.
How are written applications evaluated?
Every written submission is evaluated by three (3) members of a selection committee, with their overall scores averaged in order to determine a team’s ranking.
Does the Selection Committee have a quota of teams from each school?
The first round evaluation process is a double-blind process: members of the selection committee are anonymous and the selection committee does not see the school information for any team. Teams that include school information (including email address) in the Executive Summary will be disqualified.
How soon after the initial deadline will we find out if we made it to the next round?
Team Leaders will receive a competition status update email from email@example.com by no later than 11:59 p.m. on the notificate date.
Smith College will provide local housing for all teams traveling from outside of the Massachusetts Pioneer Valley area (up to two rooms per five-member team).
In addition, teams traveling to Northampton from outside of the Massachusetts Pioneer Valley area, may request travel stipends (reimbursed after the competition) up to the following limits per team:
West Region - $500 per team traveling from
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
Midwest Region - $300 per team traveling from
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin
South Region - $300 per team traveling from
Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C. and West Virginia
Northeast Region - $200 per team traveling from
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts (outside of the Pioneer Valley), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont
*Please note that the travel fund is limited and not all teams will be approved.
50 schools representing 24 states and Washington, DC.
- Amherst College
- Babson College
- Boston University
- Brooklyn College
- Bryn Mawr College
- College of Charleston
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Davidson College
- Denison University
- DePaul University
- Drexel University
- Fairfield University
- Florida Atlantic University
- Florida International University
- George Washington University
- Georgia State University
- Grand Valley State University
- Howard University
- Iowa State University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Maryland Institute College of Art
- Michigan State University
- Minnesota State University, Mankato
- New York University
- Northeastern University
- Ohio University
- Oklahoma State University
- Oregon State University
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- San Diego State University
- Seton Hall University
- Smith College
- Texas Christian University
- Tufts University
- United States Air Force Academy
- University of California, Davis
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Idaho
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- University of Maryland
- University of Oregon
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of San Francisco
- University of Southern California (USC)
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Wentworth Institute of Technology
- West Virginia University
- Xavier University of Louisiana
- Yale University
- The Competition Organizers reserve the right to disqualify any entry/team at any time that, in their judgment, violates the letter or spirit of the Competition.
- Smith College and the Draper Competition Planning Committee assume no responsibility to ensure the confidentiality of any information disclosed by teams before, during, or after the competition.
- Applications submitted to the competition are considered public. The documents may be shared with judges, advisors, future students, posted on websites, used for marketing purposes, etc. Participating teams should therefore ensure that their documentation does not contain trade secrets or proprietary information.
- Participants agree to be photographed and recorded and allow Smith College free use of these images as well as a summary description of all executive summaries.
- All decisions regarding the competition rules, procedures, and processes are at the sole discretion of the Competition organizers.
- The selection of the teams to compete on Competition Day and the selection of the winners are at the sole discretion of the Draper Competition Planning Committee and Competition Judges.
- Any team deemed to be using undergraduate students from a participating college or university primarily as a means to participate in the competition will be disqualified.
- Any team deemed to be using female students primarily as a means to participate in the competition will be disqualified.
- Any team who intentionally initiates contact with any judge prior to Competition Day will be disqualified from the competition.