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Contests, Awards & Prizes

Draper logo

The annual Draper 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 it, how their idea presents the best solution to the problem, and what resources, partnerships and activities it takes to successfully launch the venture.


2018 Draper Judges

2018 Judging Panel (l to r): Dawanna Williams '90, Mona Sinha '88, Kathleen Curley '72, Dr. Alan Robinson, Debby Farrington '72, Tim Draper and Melissa Parker Draper '77


SURPRISE ANNOUNCEMENT - The 2018 Draper Competition was held on a snowy Friday, April 6. The competing teams so impressed this year's judges that the competition sponsors -- Melissa and Tim Draper -- announced that the prize money awarded to the top 3 teams would be DOUBLED! In addition, all of the finalist teams were awarded $3,000 scholarships to Draper University.

Thank you to all of the members of the 2018 Selection Committee, faculty, staff and alumnae mentors at Smith College, faculty and staff mentors to all visiting teams, 2018 Draper Competition Planning Committee, CiEC Interns, and all the members of the Smith Community who made this year's event possible!

Of course, congratulations and good luck to all the student founders as they continue to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

See you in April 2019!


2018 Draper Competition - First Place

First Place - $20,000 + $10,000 scholarship to Draper University
Busy Beauty
Jamie Steenbakkers '18 and Michael Leahy '18 (not pictured), Babson College

2018 Draper Competition - Second Place

Second Place - $15,000 + scholarship to Draper University
The Forever Shower
Maria Horta Vorse '18, Alex Boatman '19 (not pictured) and Edward Hall '19 (not pictured), University of Idaho

2018 Draper Competition - Third Place

Third Place - $10,000 + scholarship to Draper University
Anmei Zhi '20, Nouhaila Norredine '20 and Elaona Lemoto '20, Smith College

2018 Finalists - $500

Alz You Need, Leda Rosenthal '18 (Colgate University)
Fida, Zoleka Mosiah '19 (Smith College)
HF Magnet, Samatha Farley '18 (West Virginia University)
Spin, Oumayma Koulouh '19 (Smith College)
Survival of the Fitted, Rachel Laflamme '20 (Smith College)
Therapalz, Fiona Kalensky '18 (University of Illinois)
Zapp Technology, Giovanna Jimenez '18 (University of Houston)


2018 Draper Competition - Fan Favorite

Fan Favorite - $1,000
The Lunch Buddy
Hannah Kelsey '20, Vivian Nelson '20, Haley Markos '20 and Frances Duncan '20, Smith College

2018 Draper Competition - Best App

Best App - $1,000
Brianna Moore '18 and Leigh Miller '18 (not pictured), Smith College

Conway Center Five-College Prizes

CIEC 5-College Prize Winner

First Place - $1,000
Duo Display - Kate Meacham '20 (Mount Holyoke College), Alessandra Massa '19 (Mount Holyoke College, not pictured) and Bryce Paquette '18 (Western New England University)

CIEC 5-College Prize Winner

Second Place - $750
Anchor - Romina Gupta '20 (Mount Holyoke College) and Abhinav Karthikeyan '20 (Boston College, not pictured)

CIEC 5-College Prize Winner

Third Place - $500
Painter Printer - Darleane Torres '21 (Hampshire College) and Joseph Mendoza '21 (Clarkson University)


Elevator Pitch Contest

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 students have to present business, product or service ideas 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 competition in the spring, at which the first place is $1,000! Join us for dinner, some great ideas and a guaranteed evening of fun.

The 17th annual Elevator Pitch Contest, held on November 26, 2018, featured 13 brave students vying for the opportunity to represent Smith at the regional collegiate competition in April. The following 5 ideas were awarded monetary prizes:

  • Best Ask - $100
    Isabelle Hodge '20 (Sociology), MarketSpace

    Isabelle Hodge '20 (Sociology), MarketSpace

    (judges - l to r: Deborah Wijnhoven, Lazarus Center for Career Development; Susannah Howe, Engineering Design Clinic Director; and Rick Plaut, CIEC Entrepreneur-in-Residence)
  • Best "Green World" Ideas - $150 (each)
    Madeline Turner '21, Sprout
    Phoebe Little '20 (Government), Ugly Smoothies
    Madeline Turner '21, Sprout Phoebe Little '20 (Government), Ugly Smoothies

  • Biggest Impact Idea - $200
    Zoleka Mosiah '20 (Engineering), Afrobotics
    Zoleka Mosiah '20 (Engineering), Afrobotics

  • Best Pitch - $400
    Kelly Pien '20 (Economics), Safety Sister

    Kelly Pien '20 (Economics), Safety Sister
    Kelly will represent Smith at the regional collegiate pitch competition sponsored by the Grinspoon Foundation in April.

The 16th annual Elevator Pitch Contest, held in November 2017, featured Smith students vying for the opportunity to represent Smith at the regional collegiate competition in April. Three prizes were awarded:

Most Viable Venture Prize: $500
Katharina Geppert '19 and Rachel LaFlamme '20, Survival of the Fitted



Grinspoon Pitch Prize Prize: $300 + Representing Smith at Regional Competition
Jacqui Ritchie-Dunham '18, FitYes



Professional Pitch Awards 
Anmei Zhi '20 and Nouhaila Norredine '20, Rebike
Elizabeth Boahen '20, SchedulRing


Anmei and Elizabeth


Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards

Grinspoon logo

Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative recognizes collegians who demonstrate what philanthropist and successful entrepreneur Harold Grinspoon refers to as "the entrepreneurial spirit” with monetary awards. Interested students should have completed a self-nomination* form by the February 22, 2019 deadline. Notifications were then sent on or by April 1, 2019. *Applicants must be able to attend the banquet on April 24, 2019 (from 4-9p, in Log Cabin, Holyoke, MA. Transportation will be provided).

Self-Nomination Form

"The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation supports the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) to foster entrepreneurship education among participating colleges and universities in the region." Each year the foundation provides each particpating school with $2,500 to distribute amongst students who demonstrate an entrepreneurial passion. This year the EI advisors awarded one spirit award and three concept awards to Smith students.

Spirit Award
Katharina Geppert & Rachel LaFlamme, co-founders of Survival of the Fitted
Survival of the Fitted is a blog-style website offering sizing, brand, and item recommendations based on individual body types, fitrelated struggles, and preferences.

Concept Awards

  • Farida Sabry '18, Leen Ajlouni '18, & Neamat Sabry '21, co-founders of Chic
    Chic is the money pooling app for checks, providing a shared platform for customers to join, split, and pay a restaurant's bill.
  • Kitty Chen '21, founder of Kinsfolk
    Kinsfolk is an app that aspires to revolutionize the current state of delivery and communication by enabling college students to run errands for peers and make a few easy bucks.
  • Reem Ladadwa '18 & Darpan Bohara '18, co-founders of Baylasan
    Recent female art graduates are taught how to turn wooden pallets available in the West Bank into unique, artistic furniture and decorate pieces.

Spirit Award
Simin Saba Royesh and Basira Daqiq, co-founders of Afra Café

Concept Awards

  • Zoleka Mosiah, founder of Afrobotics
  • Caitlin Sutherland, founder of Soul Doula
  • Anna Quintanilla, founder of We Story Tell
  • Wiktoria Leks, founder of WikiConnects

Shark Tank

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 from the mentors.

First Place: $500 
Survival of the Fitted
Rachel LaFlamme ’20 and Katharina Geppert ’19

Second Place: $300
Jane Lee ’19 and Cara Flores ’20

Third Place: $200 

Tress it Up
Roli Dema ’21 and Desiri Dema ’21

Joyce Huang ’22, Vivian Ma ’22 and Gin Chen ’22

Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship

The Conway Center sponsors monetary prizes in entrepreneurship open only to currently enrolled Smith students. Students are judged on the viability of the venture and the quality of their presentations. Winners are determined by combining scores from a written application and pitch to local business owners and investors.

2019 Prize List

  • Best Overall Venture: $2,500
  • Best STEAM Venture: $1,500
  • Best Sustainability Venture: $1,500
  • Best Social Venture: $1,500
  • Best Trade Show Exhibit: $1,000
  • The Atrevida* Prize for Best Pitch: $1,000
  • Brodsky Prize for Engineering Entrepreneurship: $1,000

* Atrevida means "bold or fierce."

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.

On Saturday, March 31, the Conway Center held the third annual Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship (2-5p, Davis Ballroom). 16 Smith teams showcased their ventures to mix of faculty and staff mentord. Teams also pitched their business to a panel of judges: Maggie Liu (Economics), Borjana Mikic (Engineering) and Anika Penn '99 (cofounder, Frontier Health). Following is the list of prize winners*:

Best Overall Venture - $2,500

Baylasan: Reem Ladadwa '18 and Darpan Bohara '18


Best Social Venture - $1,500

Borderless: Joanna Okondo '18


Best S.T.E.A.M Venture - $1,500

Survival of the Fitted: Rachel Laflamme '20 and Katharina Geppert '19


Best Sustainability Venture - $1,500
ReBike: Anmei Zhi '20, Nouhaila Norredine '20 and Elaona Lemoto '20


Best Trade Show Exhibit - $1,000

Baylasan: Reem Ladadwa '18 and Darpan Bohara '18


The Altrevida Prize for Best Pitch - $1,000

Chic: Farida Sabry '18, Leen Ajlouni '18 and Neamat Sabry '21


The Brodsky Prize for Engineering Entrepreneurship - $1,000

The Lunch Buddy: Hannah Kelsey '20, Vivian Nelson '20, Haley Markos '20, and Frances Duncan '20


*winning a S.P.I.E. prize has no bearing on a team's standing in the Draper Competition.


A fun food-filled day for students to work on potential solutions to needs/problems. The day features an Idea Jam, team formation and preliminary idea/venture development. Materials are available for teams to prototype their ideas (create a Minimum Viable Product). Teams must also craft a two-minute business pitch.