Through curricular and co-curricular initiatives, students delve into a range of subjects and develop specific capacities, such as developing a business model, pitching ideas, managing diverse teams, creating a strategic plan, managing personal and business finances, and launching a startup.
We partner with academic and other departments on campus, as well as visiting experts, to infuse entrepreneurial practices and perspectives throughout the college.
We offer opportunities for students to generate, share, test and refine new ideas through a variety of activities, including business plan competitions, elevator pitch contests and trade shows.
Innovative Strategies Special Events
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.
September 20: Speaker TBD
5—6:30 p.m., CC103/104
Established in 2016, the Innovative Strategies Speaker Series invites guests to give a talk on campus. Guest speakers present and discuss complex problems associated with pressing societal issues and other current topics of interest to Smithies.
October 18: Conway Center Dedication
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.
October 21: Start-a-Thon
11 a.m.—2 p.m., Davis Ballroom
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 judged by guests from Valley Venture Mentors.
November 6: Jenn Maer '93, Design Director at IDEO
5—6:30 p.m., CC103/104
Jenn will present a case study of IDEO's engagement with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She will also workshop IDEO's approach to creating positive impact through design for pressing problems identified by students.
1st Place: Prize—$100 of Northampton Bucks per team member
Team members (left to right): Ramlah Ahmad '20, Elizabeth Boahen '20, Zhenyao Cai '19, Emelyn Chiang '20
"Happy Book" was an idea for a product that would allow kids to show support for their friends who are struggling with depression by sending them motivational messages. This team had great energy and delivered a fun and engaging pitch at the end of the day.
2nd Place: Prize—Wireless earbuds for each team member
Team members (left to right): Anmei Zhi '20; guest member: Kenyatta Heavlow, JFK Middle School; Elaona Lemoto '20; Nouhaila Norredine '20
"Kwik Kids" is an idea for tackling the problem of safe transportation for kids by creating a special subway car for children and their teachers to ride in during school commuting hours.
3rd Place: Prize—$50 Amazon gift card for each team member
Team members (left to right): Lizzie Sturtevant '18 and Oumayma Koulouh '18
"TrackMe" is an app for smarter scheduling aimed to help students with medical challenges keep track of their condition while minimizing the stress of managing their schedule and school work.