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Entrepreneurship

Conway Center Entrepreneurship
 

Being entrepreneurial is a mindset, a way of thinking. The CIEC supports members of the Smith community that 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 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. 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 the Business Model Canvas, market size estimates and finacial projections for launching and scaling their ventures. 


Special Events

September 5: Quest: Breakfast Edition

1—3 p.m., Capen Annex

Breakfast Quest scavenger hunt for incoming students kicks off at the Design Thinking Initiative lab. New students are encouraged to find a partner ...or two or three...to join in the fun.

September 8: Open House and Ice Cream Social

2—4 p.m., Conway Center (146 Elm Street)

Meet the faculty and staff of the center, learn about student involvement opportunities, and pick up workshop and course schedules while enjoying a scoop of Herrell’s ice cream. Quest: Breakfast Edition scavenger hunt winners announced and prizes awarded.


October 18: Conway Center Dedication

5 p.m.—6:15 p.m., Campus Center Carroll Room

Elizabeth Miller '81 Lecture: Diane Hessan
Diane Hessan, former CEO of Boston's Startup Institute is a successful entrepreneur, marketer, and author. She is currently working on a variety of projects in the Boston tech ecosystem and in the political realm, and is also an active angel investor.


November 3: 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.

REGISTER HERE

November 27: Annual Elevator Pitch Contest

5—7 p.m., Carroll Room

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! The winning 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.

PRE-REGISTER HERE (not required)

March 19: Prototyping for the Entrepreneur

TBA, Capen Annex

The Prototyping Studio, part of the Design Thinking Initiative, is a makerspace on Smith campus that is open to all students. The studio is a mixture of emerging technologies, like laser cutting and 3D printing, and classic tools, like drills, rulers, sewing machines, etc. It’s the perfect place to prototype your product, or create assets for your tradeshow, like jewelry hangers, custom product packaging, and professional signage. Leo Selvaggio, the coordinator of Prototyping Studio, is happy to work with Smithies one-on-one on their projects and introduce them to the resources the studio has to offer. 

March 26: Shark Tank

5—8 p.m., TBA

Smith teams who have been selected to move on to the second round of the Draper Competition have an opportunity to perfect their pitches. Each team leader has 90 seconds to pitch to a room of mentors. Teams then receive feedback on ways to improve the content and quality of their presentation.  Dinner provided.

March 31: Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship

2—5 p.m., Davis Ballroom

CIEC sponsors monetary prizes for entrepreneurship to be awarded to Smith students: Best Venture, Best Sustainable Venture, Best STEAM Venture. Students are judged on the viability of the venture and the quality of their presentations. Winners are determined based on a combined score from a written application and pitch to local business owners and investors. Special Engineering Prize: $1,000 Brodsky Prize for Entrepreneurship in Engineering.

Note: Judges for the Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship are not affiliated with the Draper Competition. Winning a Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship has no bearing on a Smith team’s status in the Draper Competition.

April 6: Draper Business Plan Competition

2:30—6 p.m., ITT

The annual Draper Business Plan Competition is designed to hone the skills that undergraduate women need to advance through the process 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, how their idea presents the best solution to the problem, and what resources, partnerships and activities it takes to successfully launch the venture.

 

Workshops

November 13: Pitch Camp

5—6:30 p.m., Carroll Room

Hands-on workshop designed to help students craft a concise 90-second impactful statement of their idea.

PRE-REGISTER HERE (not required)

Febraury 5: Business Model Canvas Workshop #1

5—6:30 p.m., TBA

Students will learn how to turn the content of their Business Model Canvas into a compelling narrative for investors. Dinner provided.

February 12: Business Model Canvas Workshop #2

5—6:30 p.m., TBA

Students will learn how to turn the content of their Business Model Canvas into a compelling narrative for investors. Dinner provided.

February 19: Business Model Canvas Workshop #3

5—6:30 p.m., TBA

Students will learn how to turn the content of their Business Model Canvas into a compelling narrative for investors. Dinner provided.

February 26: Business Model Canvas Workshop #4

5—6:30 p.m., TBA

Students will learn how to turn the content of their Business Model Canvas into a compelling narrative for investors. Dinner provided.

March 5: Pitch Camp

5—6:30 p.m., TBA

Hands-on workshop designed to help students craft a concise 90-second impactful statement of their idea.