Skip Navigation


Valley Venture Mentors logo in window

The Conway Center aims to provide students with information on entrepreneurial opportunities both on and beyond the Smith College campus. We regularly post resources and educational programs that support the launch and growth of student ventures.


Conway Center Student Project Fund

The Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is pleased to announce the pilot of a Student Project Scholarship Fund. The fund will support students interested in supplementing their entrepreneurial or business education course studies or furthering the development of exploration and experimentation with a value creation entity. Scholarships can be used for research projects, business venture support, course-related activity or conference attendance. Note: students who need internship support should apply for Praxis summer internship funding through the Lazarus Center.

Scholarship recipients are required to give a 15-30-minute presentation to the review committee including lessons learned and major accomplishments subsequent to completing the project. If the scholarship money is not used as proposed, students will be required to return the funds. Note that scholarship funds may be subject to taxes.

To be eligible, students must:

  • be in good academic standing at Smith College,
  • not graduate from Smith College prior to utilizing the funds, and
  • have completed all paperwork necessary to receive payments from Smith College.

Individual students will be limited to two approved requests during their undergraduate Smith College tenure.

Spring Application Deadline: Rolling deadline

Collegiate Summer Venture Program

The Collegiate Summer Venture Program is a partnership between University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Valley Venture Mentors where summer venture participants get ten weeks of intense training and support, and are able to tap subject matter experts, investors, and highly engaged and collaborative peers. There is funding with need-based scholarships available. The teams get marketing exposure and public relations promotion. In addition, the Summer Venture Program carefully creates deep connections with your peers and opportunities for you to meet potential advisers, partners, and investors multiple times so relationships can grow. UMass is able to provide credit for 5 College Consortium members, more details can be given if requested in the application. Lastly, VVM & UMass support diversity and inclusion in our community and in all of our programs. The partnership is proud that startups of all industries, and founders of all stripes, thrive in all of their programs.  (Application deadline: March 21, 2019: 11:59 PM EST)

Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards

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 complete a self-nomination form by the February 22, 2019 deadline. Then notifications will be sent on or by April 1, 2019. Once notified, students 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 Link)


e-Fest 2019

Undergraduate student teams are invited to film up to a 7 minute pitch video and a slide deck of up to 16 slides. There are no creative constraints on the video; teams have total freedom. This being said, of the nine judging criteria, only one criterion deals specifically with the video (presentation); the other eight criteria focus on the merits of the venture. So, a good video, fundamentally, will thoroughly describe the venture; at the same time, don’t rule out the ability of creativity to capture attention and interest. All student teams that submit online will receive feedback in the form of an exclusive "pitch analytics" report from the judges. The online judging round will lead to the Top 25 Finalist Teams who are invited to participate in e-Fest. If selected as a finalist, your advisor, or a substitute faculty or staff advisor, will need to accompany your team to Minneapolis. It’s an expenses paid trip to the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship in Minneapolis and the chance to compete in live entrepreneurship competitions on Apr 11-13th. The top cash prize is $75K, with more than 30 individual prizes plus outstanding learning and networking opportunities. (Application deadline: Friday Feb 24, 2019 11:59 pm EST)

European Innovation Academy

Learn what it takes to become a global entrepreneur and take part in a life-changing experience. European Innovation Academy provides young entrepreneurs with tools, mindset and global ambition in Italy, Portugal and China. On top of that, the program happening in Hong Kong is offering a great chance to learn about the opportunities desired Chinese market offers. Startups in our program validate their ideas quickly to avoid wasting time on a product nobody wants. Teams meet their potential customers right on the city streets of Turin, Lisbon and Hong Kong to see if their ideas will hold-up. Startups present their ideas and solutions to all other participants, mentors and visitors at our public Startup Exposition. Teams will need to pitch their product while responding to questions to gain feedback from industry professionals and fellow peers. The program dates are as follows: Turin, Italy | 7 - 26 July 2019, Cascais, Portugal | 14 July - 2 August 2019, and Hong Kong, China | 18-31 July 2019. (China Application deadline: March 30, 2019; Italy and Portugal Application deadline: April 30, 2019)

Italia Innovation

Italia Innovation is an organization an organization that offers fully-immersive learning experiences for international students to participate in the future of Italian industries. During our programs students visit renowned Italian companies where they witness high-end production and hold conversations with company managers to understand Italy’s cultural approach to value creation. Then, with the mentorship from leading international thought and business leaders, the students embark on projects to develop opportunity spaces to bring Italian heritage into the future. (Application deadline: Friday, 1st March 2019)

Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference

Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference, SEEC, is a student-focused, regional entrepreneurship conference hosted by the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at UTC. Join the business school in Chattanooga, TN, an exciting entrepreneurial hub home to a variety of fast-growing startups. Attendees of SEEC 2019, held Friday, March 1st and Saturday, March 2nd in Chattanooga, TN, will have the opportunity to learn from the pros through 1-on-1 interaction with conference speakers and mentors, network with fellow student entrepreneurs & innovators, connect with like-minded entrepreneurship faculty, and pitch your venture for prize money.

Springboard Enterprises' Health Innovation Hub: Life Sciences

Springboard is now recruiting women-led life science companies seeking seed and growth funding and expert connections to accelerate the commercialization of their solutions, including new drugs, diagnostics, pharma technologies, life science tools, and medical devices. The 3-Day bootcamp workshop assesses your critical short-term needs and matches you with a team of relevant strategic advisors. There is a 4-month advisory program that enhances the way you deliver your business opportunity so people are willing to open up their networks or wallets, leveraging our global expert network. Finally, Springboard offers a lifetime peer network with ongoing opportunities to interact with its community of 600+ innovators & 1000+ experts. (Priority deadline: Friday, March 1st, 2019. Application deadline: Monday, 4th March 2019)

Startup Island | Costa Rica - Spring Break 2019

College is an ideal time to seek out memorable experiences, meet like-minded people, and expand your entrepreneurial mindset. Startup Island is here to help you discover opportunities that will propel you towards your own version of success. During a week, March 9th-15th, in beautiful Costa Rica, the program offers a healthy, productive and inspiring alternative to the traditional spring break, for students who want to do something more meaningful. Students will learn how to give a concise and effective elevator pitch, which is crucial for all entrepreneurs, whether for networking or fundraising purposes. Pitch coaches and public speaking experts on-site will explain ways for each student to make their pitch more compelling, digestible, and relatable.

Summer on the Cuyahoga (SOTC) - think[box] Internship

Communications and Programs Intern: Sear think[box] at Case Western Reserve University is seeking a driven and motivated intern to join our team in support of communications and outreach program development. Under the supervision of the Program Manager, the intern will provide project leadership and coordination to successfully complete high level projects.

Take The Floor- Entrepreneur Pitch Night

Greenfield Community College is gearing up for their second Take The Floor event. This event allows for entrepreneurs in the community to pitch their business ideas, or ideas for expansion of a current business to win money toward those ideas. The attending crowd funds the winnings with their ticket money and also decide the winner. The projects submitted must be based in Franklin County, MA because this is an event to support the entrepreneurs of Franklin County. Competitors will have 4 minutes at ‘Take The Floor’ to take the floor and give your pitch. Once your 4 minutes are up, the crowd or an advisory panel will have another 4 minutes to ask you questions about your proposal. Sign here up to pitch a business idea. The annual event will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 6 PM – 8 PM.

TechConnect World 2019

For over 20 years the TechConnect World Innovation Conference and Expo has connected top applied research and early-stage innovations from universities, labs, and startups with industry end-users and prospectors. The 2019 TechConnect World Innovation event includes the annual SBIR/STTR Spring Innovation Conference, Spring Defense TechConnect, the TechConnect Technical Program - more than 35 world-class technical symposium, and the Nanotech Conference Series – the world's largest and longest running nanotechnology event. Through these joint programs, TechConnect has published over 10,000 technical papers, connected over 20,000 innovations with industry partners, provided prospecting to most all Fortune 500 technology companies, and supported most every U.S. Science and Technology agency including the National Nanotechnology Initiative since its inception. Join the world's brightest researchers, innovators, and technology prospectors as they convene in Boston, MA, June 17-19, 2019. (Apply before April 20, 2019 for an early bird discount)

Undergraduate Stock Pitch Challenge

The Undergraduate Stock Pitch Challenge provides a forum for students from top undergraduate programs to compete and showcase their stock-picking skills in front of a panel of distinguished judges drawn from sponsoring firms. Competing teams consist of three members per team, including one woman. Students have one week to prepare two stock pitches, which they present to judges from sponsoring firms. In addition to gaining valuable experience and competing before judges, students have a chance to shine before prospective employers. Resume books of all participants are distributed to attending recruiters, and students have an opportunity to mingle with judges and recruiters at both the welcoming reception and the awards reception. Three members (ideally sophomores and juniors in the 2019-20 academic year, though seniors can also attend, who are looking for research/asset management internships or permanent jobs), one of whom must be female. The challenge will be held September 12-13, 2019 at Omni Parker House Hotel, Boston.  (Initial application deadline: Saturday, March 23, 2019)

Undergraduate Women in Investing (WIN) Conference

The Undergraduate Women in Investing (WIN) Conference is designed to educate women in college about careers in the asset management industry and facilitate their networking and recruiting opportunities with sponsoring firms. Resume books of all participants will be distributed to representatives of sponsoring firms and women will have the opportunity to pitch a stock to judges and recruiters from sponsoring firms. More than 60 women undergraduate students from 10-12 top universities and representatives from 8-10 top-tier investment management firms are expected to attend. Through the generosity of our sponsors, Cornell will cover the hotel room costs of participating women who are on the stock pitching team from each school (two to a room, up to two rooms per non-local school) and others as availability permits. Non-Cornell participants are responsible for their transportation to and from the venue. The WIN Conference, held September 26-27, 2019 in Boston, MA, is designed primarily for sophomores and juniors in the 2019-20 academic year who are interested in exploring careers in investment management but seniors are also welcome to attend.  (First application deadline: Saturday, March 23, 2019)

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneur Program

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council Student Entrepreneur Program (WBENC SEP) is a premier startup program fostering growth for the next generation of women-owned businesses. Aspiring collegiate female entrepreneurs studying in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) or Business receive mentoring from some of the most successful Women's Business Enterprises (WBEs) and America's largest Fortune 500 companies while also participating in a tailored entrepreneurial curriculum, a pitch competition awarding $20,000 in seed capital and experiential learning through off-site visits to WBEs, corporate campuses, and accelerators. This year's program takes place June 23 - 28, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland during the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair. (Application deadline: Friday, February 22, 2019)

Y Combinator, Summer 2019

Y Combinator provides seed funding for startups. Seed funding is the earliest stage of venture funding. It pays your expenses while you’re getting started. Some companies may need no more than seed funding. Others will go through several rounds. There is no right answer; how much funding you need depends on the kind of company you start. We invite the most promising groups to meet us in person, and we make funding decisions immediately afterward. Most of the founders in each startup we fund (and always the CEO) are expected to move to the Bay Area for the duration of the three month batch. During those three months, founders participate in group office hours every two weeks and can meet with partners and experts for office hours as often as needed.Y Combinator is accepting applications from startups for the Summer 2019 funding cycle. It will take place in Mountain View, CA from June–August 2019. Please submit your application online by 8 pm PT on March 25, 2019. Startups that submit early have a small advantage because Y Combinator will have more time to read their applications. And you can submit after the deadline - though keep in mind that the later you apply, the harder it is to get in.