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A Culture of Care
Read Smith’s plans for the fall 2020 semester
and the college’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Conway Center Entrepreneurship

Being entrepreneurial is a mindset, a way of thinking. The CIEC supports members of the Smith community who are attracted to opportunities, innovation and value creation and those who are calculated risk takers and thrive in an ambiguous environment. If you have a great idea for a business, product or service, or even if you don't, we invite you to participate in our hands-on activities and learning workshops throughout the year and practice.

Develop Skills

Through curricular and co-curricular initiatives, students delve into a range of subjects and develop specific skills such as leadership, resiliency, self-reflection, selling, managing people and communication.

Work Together

We partner with academic and other departments on campus, as well as visiting experts, to infuse entrepreneurial practices and perspectives throughout the college.

Test Ideas

We offer opportunities for the Smith community to generate, share, test and refine their ideas through a variety of activities, including competitions, challenges, pitch contests, business model workshops, start-a-thon and trade shows.

Mentor Program

The center facilitates the matching of student entrepreneurs with faculty and alumnae mentors during the academic year. To request a mentor or to volunteer to become a mentor, please complete the appropriate form below (links active during the academic year only).

Students: Mentor Request Form

Faculty/Staff/Alumnae: Mentor Volunteer Form

Students are also strongly encourage to meet with Monica Dean, Conway Center Director, for assistance with defining value propositions and identifying customer segments, market size estimates and finacial projections for launching and scaling ventures.

Special Events

September 6: Open House

2:30—4 p.m., 146 Elm Street

Join the the students, staff and of the Center for music and mocktails on the deck. Learn about student involvement opportunities at the Center through the student clubs we support: Consulting Club, Smith College Investment Club, Smithies in Business and Startup Smith. Pick up workshop and course schedules while enjoying a few tasty treats from Hot Oven Cookies! Be sure to have your CORQ pass for easy check-in.

September 12: CIEC Information Session

12—1 p.m., CC 103/104

Can't make it to our open house? The Conway Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center staff and student leaders will be on hand during lunch to answer your questions and provide you with information about all the upcoming innovation, entrepreneurship and financial education activities. Lunch provided.

November 1: Grinspoon, Garvey and Young Entrepreneurship Conference

8 a.m.—2 p.m., MassMutual Center (Springfield, MA)

This annual entrepreneurship conference is organized by the EI advisors from 14 area schools and sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Open to college students in western Massachusetts, it is an opportunity for attendees to meet like-minded individuals from nearby schools, pitch ideas, form leadership teams for new ventures, and learn about current industry trends. Free transportation is provided by the Conway Center. Continental breakfast and buffet lunch provided.

SIGN UP on the Smith Social Network (required)

November 18: Annual Elevator Pitch Contest

5—7 p.m., Campus Center 103/104

90 SECONDS—the approximate time an investor gives you to convince them to take things to the next step where they can learn more about you and your idea. This is all the time each contestant has to present a business, product or service idea to their peers, local entrepreneurs and a panel of judges. No props, just one 3x5 index card, 90 seconds, a great pitch and an even better idea! Up to $1,000 in cash & prizes will be given away. The best back-of-the-napkin idea pitch receives $100 and the right to represent Smith College at a regional pitch competition in the spring where first place is $1,000. Dinner provided.

November 21: Zubaida Bai - Entrepreneur for Women's Health

4:30 p.m., Campus Center 103/104

Zubaida Bai is the creator of Ayzh, a company focused on bringing maternal health products and processes to women in rural India. Her passion for equitable and safe healthcare solutions, along with her training as an engineer led her to create a safe, affordable birthing kit. Come and hear her speak about the risks she took to make an impact in the world of social entrepreneurship, design, equity, and health.

*In partnership with the Wurtele Center for Leadership. 

February 12: Women and Leadership: What it Means to be a Leader in Business, Politics and Life

4:30—6 p.m., Alumnae House Living Room

Stephanie Mickle '94, attorney, consultant, author, and entrepreneur. Stephanie is excited to share lessons learned along her journey from Smith to becoming the first African-American woman to serve as general counsel to a U.S. Senator to launching her own public affairs agency. Specifically, she'll talk about how to distinguish yourself as a leader by developing and nurturing relations and how to effectively lead teams and grown your brand. She'll help you figure out how to silence the fear, let go of the "superwoman" syndrome and even figure out when it’s time to quit. Her first book, "Follow the Leader," will be available for purchase and signing. Cosponsored by the Conway Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Wurtele Center for Leadership. Free and open to the public, wheelchair accessible. Reception to follow.



November 12
Pitch Practice: Drop In Hours

Noon—1 p.m., CC103/104

“Public Speaking” can take many forms, ranging from presentations of research, to presenting a verbal argument, to giving a quick “pitch” to try to interest your audience in your ideas.  This workshop will give you a chance to build your confidence speaking in front of others, including concrete tips and direct practice, as well as opportunities to give and receive feedback from your peers.  Come to this fun, interactive, and safe space to develop this critical skill.

Free food and stuff.

January 31 | February 7 | February 14
BMC --> DC2020

12:15—1:15 p.m., CC205

Over the course of three workshops, students will learn how to turn the nine panels of their Business Model Canvas (BMC) into a compelling 2-page executive summary for the 2020 Draper Competition application. Reminder: your Draper application also enters you into two-Smith only competitions: Shark Tank (3/9) and the Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship (3/28).

Free food and stuff.

February 15, 2020

February 27
Innovative MVPs

12:15—1:15 p.m., CC103/104

Are you struggling to develop a visual identity for your brand, or curious how to design a stunning, interactive booth? Join Laura Lililenkamp, Design Thinking Prototyping Studio Coordinator, for this interactive session for those preparing for the Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship and the 2020 Draper Competition. Laura will help  think about how to create a style guide for your brand by choosing colors, fonts, and images that align with your mission.

You will also learn more about the Design Thinking Initiative, and how we can help you design, prototype, and test your ideas and products! For maximum impact, bring other members of your team to brainstorm together.

Free food and stuff.

March 5
Pitch Like a Pro

12:15—1:15 p.m., CC205

Fadia Nordtveit will provide students with helpful tips for delivering compelling pitches at upcoming entrepreneurship events. Come ready to practice your pitch with faculty and staff mentors. Free food and stuff..

March 9
Shark Tank

5—8 p.m., CC Carroll Room

All teams who have submitted applications for the 2020 Draper Competition have an opportunity to practice their 90-second pitch. Mentors will be on hand to provide feedback. Cash prizes will be distributed to those with the best pitches of the evening.

Free food and stuff.