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.
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.
We partner with academic and other departments on campus, as well as visiting experts, to infuse entrepreneurial practices and perspectives throughout the college.
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.
The center facilitates the matching of student entrepreneurs with faculty and alumnae mentors. To request a mentor or to volunteer to become a mentor, please complete the appropriate form below:
Students: Mentor Request Form
Faculty/Staff/Alumnae: Mentor Volunteer Form
Students are also strongly encourage to meet with Rick Plaut, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, for assistance with defining value propositions and identifying customer segments, market size estimates and finacial projections for launching and scaling ventures.
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.
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.
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.
The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs is an on-ramp for undergraduate women seeking access to entrepreneurship opportunties, capital and networks.