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Draper Competition

The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs 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.

First Place: ImmunoGo, Emily Morris '19 (Smith College)
$10,000 + $10,000 scholarship to Draper University

Emily Morris '19, ImmunoGo

Second Place: The Ekari Book Series, Pricilla Semphere '18 (Smith College)
$7,500 + $7,500 scholarship to Draper University

Priscilla Semphere '18, The Ekari Book Series

Third Place (tied): Sugaway, Danya Abutaleb '19 (University of Virginia)
$2,500 + $2,500 scholarship to Draper University

Danya Abutalev, Sugaway


Third Place (tied): Vescenece, Kiran Meghani '17 & Arsheen Menon '17 (University of Houston)
$2,500 + $2,500 scholarship to Draper University

Kiran Meghani, Vescence

Audience FavoriteSanitary Solutions, Sarah Price '18 & Katie Christensen '19 (Smith College)

 Sarah Price '18, Sanitary Solutions

Best App: ReBike, Nouhaila Norredine '20, Elaona Lemoto '20 & Amnei Zhi '20 (Smith College)

Best App


Conway Center Five College Prizes:

  1. Tiwale, Ellen Chilemba (Mount Holyoke);
  2. Travel Unicorn, Carly Forcade (Mount Holyoke) & MejiH2O, Rebecca Onyango (Mount Holyoke)
  3. We've Met, Molly Palmer (UMass - Amherst)

House Prizes: Tenney House - 72% of house members present; Park House - Most Attendees



More than $60,000 in cash and prizes are awarded each year.

   1st: $10,000 cash prize + Draper University Scholarship
   2nd: up to $7,500 cash prize + Draper University Scholarship
   3rd: up to $5,000 cash prize + Draper University Scholarship

   Best App: $1,000
   Fan Favorite: $1,000  




Ventures: The competition is for new, for-profit, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages. An existing business is eligible only if, as of 11:59 p.m. on December 31, 2017, it has received less than $25,000 in funding or prize money and/or has earned less than $100,000 in gross revenue.

Team Member: The competition is open to any undergraduate student currently enrolled at Smith College or in a degree program at any college or university located in the United States.

Team Leader: Each team must have at least one eligible Team Member who is also female undergraduate. The Team Leader must have played a significant role in conceiving the venture. The Team Leader serves as the main contact for the team and as the spokesperson on Competition Day.

Faculty Advisor: Each team must provide contact information for a faculty adviser at their school. Faculty advisers are welcomed but not required to be present at Smith College on Competition Day.

Application Guidelines

The Business Model Canvas is the tool entrepreneurs use to track their progression from unproven concept to viable venture. The Draper Competition requires that students map the strategic vision for their venture using the Business Model Canvas and provide a written narrative of their canvas in a two-page executive summary.

Business Model Canvas

“A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.” - Alexander Osterwalder, Business Model Generation (2010)


Customer Segments
Who are your most important customers? What do they do? What are their pains? What gains are they seeking?

Value Propositions
What value do you create for your customers? Which pain are you solving? What need are you satisfying?

How are your value propositions delivered to your customers? What are your modes of communication, sales and distribution?

Customer Relationships
How do you interact with your customers (e.g., online, in person)? Do you interact differently with different customer segments?

Revenue Streams
How does the venture make money?

Key Resources
What assets are required in order for you to offer and deliver your value proposition to your customer segments?

Key Activities
What crucial things does the venture need to do in order to deliver on your value propositions?

Key Partnerships
With whom do you need to work so that you can focus on the key activities of the venture (i.e., to whom can you outsource non-key activities)?

Cost Structure
What are the major cost drivers of your value proposition? How are they linked to revenue streams?


Key 2018 Competition Dates

January 29

Application portal for the 2018 Draper Competition opens. Team leaders complete the online application, upload a two-page executive summary (PDF, no school affiliation included) and a completed Business Model Canvas (PDF).

March 2

Application Deadline
Applications and materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2018.

March 9

Notification of Application Status
Team leaders are notified of their status in the competition by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 9, 2018. Teams moving on to the next round of competition are provided with feedback on their materials.

March 19

Participation Confirmation
Team leaders must confirm their intent to attend Competition Day by 4:00 p.m. on Monday, March 19, 2018. Team leaders may also submit a final version of the two-page executive summary.

April 6

Draper Business Plan Competition
The final two rounds of competition are held at Smith College, where semi-finalist teams showcase their ventures and vie for an opportunity to deliver a 90-second pitch to the panel of judges. Judges evaluate teams as real-world start-ups soliciting funds from early stage investors.