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For the Community

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In addition to the academic courses and co-curricular programming for students, the Conway Center also engages in research and offers multiple ways for faculty, staff, alums and community business leaders to get involved. 

Entrepreneurship Research

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)

GEM, now a global consortium of over 500 researchers in its 20th year of operation, is the largest and most developed research program on entrepreneurship in the world, including data from 100+ economies. GEM is unique because, unlike most entrepreneurship data sets that measure newer and smaller firms, GEM studies the behavior of individuals with respect to starting and managing a business.

GEM consortium teams are members of an exclusive research project which provides access to the collective knowledge of some of the world’s most renowned researchers and institutions involved in entrepreneurship research. At a time in history when individual entrepreneurial activity may hold the key to transforming the global economy and discouraging ingrained economic disparity in countries with minimal economic opportunity,

GEM data has influenced national economic policies and continues to expand its collaborative role.Women’s entrepreneurship is an increasingly popular topic for study and action in the academic, policy, and public and private sector communities. It is a frequent focus of academic research publications based on GEM data. Around the world, policy and public/private institutions are concerned with improving conditions for women’s business, increasing women’s participation in entrepreneurship, and facilitating high quality activity that may include growth enterprises and knowledge-based industries.

The findings of this report provide a foundation for guiding future research, policy decision-making, and design of initiatives and programs to enhance growth and development of women’s entrepreneurship within context. Overall, this report demonstrates the value women entrepreneurs bring to societies worldwide and suggests areas for improvement in conditions that encourage and support their aspirations.

Financial Education Research

Educated Women’s Financial Knowledge, Behavior and Attitudes

In October 2009, the Center for Women and Financial Independence launched a pioneering survey to study educated women's financial knowledge, behavior and attitudes towards money. Over 4,500 Smith College alumnae completed the comprehensive online survey. The results from this rich dataset, that includes information about age, household income and type of degree obtained, is reported in a series of articles that examine how educated women learn about finances, manage their assets, make financial decisions, save for retirement, gage their sense of financial security and assess their own financial mistakes.


Mahdavi, M. and Horton, N. J. (2014), Financial Knowledge among Educated Women: Room for Improvement. J Consum Aff, 48: 403–417. doi:10.1111/joca.12032

Ways to Engage

Provide guidance to Smith students interested in starting new ventures, finance and consulting careers. Length of residency during the academic year and affiliated activities are negotiable.

A committee of individuals representing a range of backgrounds evaluate the two-page executive summaries submitted by students applicants to the Draper Competition. Each reviewer is assigned no more than 30 applications to review online using a rubric. Total time commitment: approximately 10 hours during the course of one week in February.

The Conway Center hosts a few entrepreneurship competitions, including the Draper Competition, over the course of the academic year.

Offer your expertise via a Conway workshop or class focused on innovation, entrepreneurship or financial education. Total time commitment varies.

Provide guidance to Smith students preparing for Draper Competition and other startup venture support opportunities. Mentors work with teams from November through late March. Time commitment: approximately 1-hour per week.

The Conway Center podcast is a way to introduce the campus to alums and other women who have founded ventures. A Conway intern will conduct a 30-45 minute interview with questions provided to you in advance. Of course, if you’d like to be a guest host, we welcome your voice. Time commitment: approximately 4 hours in total.

Club for students interested in consulting; members seek guidance on networking, information sessions, case workshops and consulting interview preparation.

Club for students interested in investment banking, asset management, wealth management and equity research; members seek guidance on developing interview skills, stock pitch presentations, and more.

Club for students interested in all fields of business; members seek guidance on personal branding, networking, mentoring, industry crash courses and developing interview skills.