We encourage students to explore all that the Conway Center has to offer. Through education and practice, you will cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset whereby you'll recognize otherwise overlooked opportunities, develop the confidence to take calculated risks, and learn from setbacks. Through engagement with student clubs, you'll discover more about yourself—your goals, the strengths you bring, and areas where you need to improve—while developing the skills needed to succeed in the world beyond Smith.
The center is home to several curricular courses: three interdepartmental courses designed to guide students through the process of ideation to value creation and ultimately to venture launch; and two financial education courses that introduce students to the structure and operation of U.S. and world corporations and financial institutions.
IDP 146 Critical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship takes on a diversity of meanings, forms and structures depending on its source and context. In this course, entrepreneurship is studied from a variety of critical and emerging vantage points such as entrepreneurial cultural and arts projects, tech-enabled ventures, and social impact entrepreneurship. Students will examine the implications of entrepreneurial modes for social justice, inclusion equity, agency, and human value. Collectively, we will map incubators, accelerators, and labs with a perspective of adapting these models toward enhancing the reach of Smith's liberal arts synthesis. These explorations may require joining monthly in-person and virtual field trips facilitated by Smith's Conway Center to explore and learn from practices at leading centers for creative action around the world. Students will cultivate and develop projects that can transform Smith's entrepreneurship offerings with a view to offering insight about how entrepreneurship may create sustained impact that generates both individual and community wealth. *Not offered in AY 22-23
IDP 155 Entrepreneurship I: Introduction to Innovation
In this course, students will begin a journey towards developing an entrepreneurial mindset, gaining immediate experience with entrepreneurial innovation by generating bold solutions to problems. Students will be challenged to think about ventures that address a new, just, and increasingly decentralized world post COVID-19 using the 17 UNSDGs as a framework for projects and learn about leverage from tools provided by software and media capabilities. Students will also analyze cases about real entrepreneurs and explore their challenges, obstacles and ethical decision-making. This course is designed around individual and team-based assignments that culminate in final team presentations. Students are encouraged to enroll in IDP 156 to benefit from the immersive experiences both courses. 1 credit; S/U only. Course max: 30 students
IDP 156 Entrepreneurship II: Entrepreneurship in Practice
Building on IDP 155, students will continue developing an entrepreneurial mindset by exploring the process of planning, testing and iterating on their unique ideas, and learning innovative techniques related to Lean Launch methodology. Teams will begin mapping their ideas using the Business Model Canvas and the Value Proposition Canvas. Students will be exposed to the Failure Spectrum and analyze cases about failure. Students work in teams to complete daily homework assignments and a final presentation. This course is designed around individual and team-based assignments that culminate in final team presentations and may be centered around an immersive experience designed in conjunction with a leading entrepreneurship and design thinking academy which may require travel within the US. Enrollment in IDP 155 is required. 1 credit; S/U only. Course max: 30 students
GFX 100 Introduction to Global Financial Institutions
Smith faculty, alumnae industry professionals and scholars in the field provide an overview of the financial system and the role of financial institutions in the global economy; domestic and international regulation; domestic and international banking. 1 credit; S/U only.
This course serves as the gateway for the Global Finance Concentration and meets for eight weeks during the first-half of the Fall semester.
ACC 223 Financial Accounting
The course, while using traditional accounting techniques and methodology, focuses on the needs of external users of financial information. The emphasis is on learning how to read, interpret and analyze financial information as a tool to guide investment decisions. Concepts rather than procedures are stressed and class time will be largely devoted to problem solutions and case discussions. A basic knowledge of arithmetic and a familiarity with a spreadsheet program is suggested. 4 credits; not more than four credits in accounting may be counted toward the degree.
Take charge of your financial life!
In this course, the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center presents an accessible and informative set of topics, videos, and activities to help you improve your financial literacy. The course is taught by Smith College Economics professor Randall Bartlett. With his eloquent storytelling prowess, Bartlett demystifies financial topics ranging from the time value of money to taxable income, and helps you gain a firm conceptual understanding of personal finance. A strong foundation in financial literacy will empower you to ask the right questions when managing your own financial affairs throughout your life.
Smithies in Business (SIB) provides students who are interested pursuing careers in business, consulting, and entrepreneurship with resources and networking opportunities. Each semester's programming is tailored to the interests and needs of undergraduate students who want to build a strong network of professional women and would like to explore fields that require business experience and knowledge. SIB also runs SmiTHrift, the student initiative to open a thrift store on campus.
The Smith College Consulting Club works collaboratively whether it be to prepare members for job recruitment, or to encourage interest in the field. Practicing various types of consulting cases throughout the year, members gain insight into how different types of case studies are executed. Fostering relationships with classmates by bringing in alum speakers, visiting consulting companies, the club aims to guide students how to apply what they learn in the classroom in the real world. The Startup Consulting Group is a hands-on, competitive opportunity for members to apply their skills in the service of Pioneer Valley startups who are preparing for investor presentations and launch.
Launched in fall 2002 under the sponsorship of WFI, the Smith College Investment Club gives Smith students the opportunity for hands-on experience with investing while making a positive financial contribution to the Smith community. SCIC sponsors on-campus lectures by financial professionals and off-campus trips to Wall Street and beyond, and is open to all interested students.
SCIC student members are responsible for managing and investing two portfolios: a traditional investment portfolio currently valued at approximately $200,000; and an SRI/ESG focused portfolio currently valued at approximately $130,000. Club members meet on a regular basis to discuss asset allocation, analyze fund performance and decide how to successfully operate a well-diversified portfolio. Dividends from the traditional portfolio are donated to Smith College Financial Aid (75 percent) and to the Student Government Association (25 percent) for campus-wide activities.
The national Draper Competition, held each Spring at Smith College, is a business model competiton designed to hone the skills that undergraduate women need to advance 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.
Elevator Pitch Contest
90 SECONDS—is all the time students have to present business, product or service ideas to their peers, local entrepreneurs and a panel of judges. Contestants may use one 3x5 index card; no props allowed.
Smith teams who have submitted applications to 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.
Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship
The Conway Center sponsors monetary prizes in entrepreneurship open only to currently enrolled Smith students who submitted applications to the Draper Competition. 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.
- Best Overall Venture: $2,500
- Best S.T.E.A.M. Venture: $1,500
- Best Sustainability Venture: $1,500
- Best Social Venture: $1,500
- Best Trade Show Exhibit: $1,000
- Brodsky Prize for Engineering Entrepreneurship: $1,000
Note: Judges for the Shark Tank and Smith Prize in Entrepreneurship are not affiliated with the Draper Competition. Winning a prize at either has no bearing on a Smith team’s status in the Draper Competition and vice versa.
Applications for a Student Project Scholarship are considered on a rolling basis. Applications for Student Project Scholarships are considered on a rolling basis until funds have been exhausted.
Scholarships are granted to students interested in supplementing their entrepreneurial or business education course studies, developing a value creation entity, or experimenting with prototyping. Scholarships may be used for costs associated with research or personal projects, launching a business venture, course-related activity or conference attendance.
- Must be in good academic standing at Smith College.
- Must not graduate from Smith College prior to utilizing the funds.
- Must have completed all paperwork necessary to receive payments from Smith College.
Students are limited to: (i) one approved request each academic year and (ii) up to $1,000 in total funding. *Petitions for larger grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Note: Scholarships may not be used to fund an internship experience or to purchase computer equipment.
2022 Draper Competition Winners
CONGRATULATIONS to all participants! We encourage you to continue to pursue your passions and let us know how we might continue to support your endeavors. Thank you to everyone who supported this year's competition: faculty, mentors, application readers, judges and sponsors. Without you, we could not highlight and celebrate these impressive students and their projects.
Winning Smith Teams
2nd Prize: Sarah Bingham '22, Ritual Glaze Co.
Keep it Going Prize: Julieta Michelin Salomon '25 and Belen Rugiero Mejia '22, Lucrativity
2021 Elevator Pitch Contest Winners
The 20th annual Elevator Pitch Contest, held on November 29, 2021, featured promising Smith students vying for the opportunity to represent Smith at the regional collegiate competition in April. The following teams were awarded monetary prizes:
- Top Pitch - $500
Juliana Makonise '25, Book Pact Africa
- Grinspoon Rep - $300
Handi Lu '25, Advertising Hand Dryers
- Keep it Goin' - $100 each
Peris Mwangi '23, Nuru Capital
Mary Tran '25, Study Buddy
2022 Grinspoon EI
- Sarah Bingham '22, Ritual Glaze Co.
- Asmae Lichir AC'23, PathoPacket
- Belen Rugerio Mejia '22 and Julieta Michelin Salomon '25, Lucrativity
Elevator Pitch Contest
- Juliana Makonise '25, Impumelelo Career Network
2022 Shark Tank Winners
- Best Product Pitch - $250
Sarah Bingham '22 - Ritual Glaze Co.
- Best Service Pitch - $250
Juliana Makonise '25, Impumelelo Career Network
Amplify Awards registration is now open. Please check the website for specific deadlines.
Amplify is a new initiative sponsored by the Wurtele Center for Leadership that offers you an opportunity to gain the skills, coaching and platform you need to share your knowledge and perspectives with a public audience. It is a forum where you can take what you’re learning in an academic setting and use it to develop a public voice by experimenting with different media, including public writing, speaking, and art. Through Amplify’s events, workshops and one-on-one coaching and feedback, you’ll develop a piece that you’re proud to share with the world. Amplify culminates with a chance to submit your work to the Amplify Competition.
As a student entering a rapidly changing economy and geo-political climate, you need every edge you can get. Knowledge of and experience using the Bloomberg Terminal is that edge. Bloomberg is a terminal-bound financial services platform that provides analysis and quotes for equities (stocks) and indices, global company and economic data, real-time and historical industry and market news, and advanced analytical and data functions. It is an industry standard in the financial services and investment banking industries.
Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC), also known as Bloomberg Certification, is a self-paced e-learning course that provides a visual introduction to financial markets and the core functionality of the Bloomberg terminal. It takes ~8 hours to complete and progress is saved automatically. After finishing BMC, Bloomberg provides a "Certificate of Completion."
Deadline: Rolling during 2022-23
Applications for a Conway Center Student Project Scholarship are considered on a rolling basis. Scholarships are granted to students interested in supplementing their entrepreneurial or financial/business education course studies or furthering the development of exploration and experimentation with a value creation entity. Students are limited to: (i) one approved request each academic year and (ii) up to $1,000 in total funding. *Petitions for larger grants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Scholarships may be used for costs associated with research or personal projects, startup ventures, course-related activity or attendance at conferences not covered by the SGA Conferenve Fund.
- You must be in good academic standing at Smith College.
- You must not graduate from Smith College prior to utilizing the funds.
- You must have completed all paperwork necessary to receive payments from Smith College.
Successful applicants will receive funds, disbursed as reimbursements through the Controller's Office, after completion of the approved activity and presentation of lessons learned to members of the review committee.
Deadline: Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Collaborative Leadership and Design Immersions (CLDI) are an applied learning opportunity to connect Smithies with organizations and institutions across the country and around the world who leverage design practices and methods for advancing socially, economically, and environmentally healthy communities.
Deadline Applications due in March 2023. Specific dates to be determined.
The Leaders for Equity-Centered and Action-Based Design (LEAD) Scholars Program is a one-year cohort program that focuses on building leadership capacity through both examining leadership through a social justice lens and learning skills of facilitation and design for social change. The Wurtele Center for Leadership and the Office for Equity and Inclusion are partnering to create a program with the mission of equipping students with the skills to apply equity-centered design to address some of our greatest social inequities.
Smith Executive Education continues to offer a selection of self-directed online programs to current students through Business Prep. Registration is rolling and new registrants will be enrolled weekly on Wednesdays. Register here for access to the following programs through Executive Education Business Prep: Financial Statements for Non-Finance Professionals, Human-Centered Design for Business, Powerful Words for Women Leaders, & Resolving Conflict Through Clear Communication: Fill out this form to apply.
Last day of every month
In honor of Amber Wigdahl, who died before realizing her dreams, Amber Grants started in 1998. An Amber Grant of $10,000 is given to someone each month, and an additional $25,000 Amber Grant is received by one of the 12 monthly recipients. In the first week of each month, the winner is revealed. Applying is fast. Just take a couple of minutes to tell them about yourself and your dream for company. There is a $15 application fee required.
Baylor NVC invites collegiate entrepreneurs from around the world to participate in this award-winning business plan and elevator pitch competition. The competition provides participants with personal and professional development through industry-specific mentorship towards sustainable business plans and exclusive access to accomplished experts and fellow innovators.
Chloe Capital is a venture capital fund that invests in tech businesses led by women. Although recognized for our # InvestInWomen tour, in order to access funding opportunities from Chloe Capital, or any of our co-investing partners, women entrepreneurs do not need to participate in one of our signature initiatives. We're asking you to take a moment to review our investment dissertation. You also must familiarize yourself with Chloe Capital's portfolio before applying.
There is overwhelming evidence that it has wide ripple effects that are positive for society to achieve equality and empowerment for women. Women spend a large portion of the income they receive in the health and education of their children and their local economies as foundations of their communities, generating a huge economic impact. Coca Cola will provide grants as long as they meet the criteria. Amount varies per business.
Forte is an organization dedicated to helping young women develop successfully leadership skills through access to professional development, mentorship and a community of successful women. Forté offers a free self-guided Career Ready cerfiticate where you can explore potential business careers and academic paths. Each year, multiple conferences are held with career prep workshops and networking opportunties.
The Facebook Invoice Fast Track program provides certified diverse-owned businesses in the United States with an early invoice payment option. Facebook Invoice Fast Track can be utilized for invoices ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 (with some restrictions) and can help you boost your cash flow in a matter of days.
I-Corps @ UMass Amherst
Do you want to get invaluable entrepreneurial experience and advice from a team of mentors? Apply for Innovators Jump-Start Corps, a program that provides hands-on training and experience in exploring potential opportunities to apply your technology to real-world problems and unmet needs. Gain professional development, broaden the impact of NSF research, and gain access to additional funding.
Kapor Capital invests in early-stage tech-driven businesses dedicated to closing access, opportunity or outcome disparities for U.S. low-income communities and/or communities of color. They are especially interested in those who discuss inequalities in African-Americans and Latinx populations of disproportionate significance. They are open to investment in all sectors, including education , jobs, finance, justice, food and healthcare. Amount varies per business.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that enable small domestic companies with the potential for commercialization to participate in Federal Research / Research and Development (R / R&D). SBIR and STTR allow small companies to explore their technical potential and provide the opportunity to benefit from their commercialization through a competitive awards-based program.
Westly Prize for Young California Innovators
The Westly Prize is offering $145,000 cash prizes to social entrepreneurs under 28 years old with novel solutions to community challenges at home or around the world. Innovations must be prototyped and scalable, and the innovators must live, work, or attend school in California, or reside in California but attend school elsewhere.