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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Research & Inquiry July 24, 2020

2020 Draper Finals Will Be Virtual Event

Melisa Parker and Tim Draper smiling during a presentation
Melissa Parker Draper ’77 and her husband Tim, founders of Smith’s Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs, are among the judges for this year’s competition.

The final rounds of this year’s Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs will be a virtual event, open to the public, on Friday, Aug. 7, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. (EDT).

The competition—a signature Smith offering since it was launched in 2012 by Tim Draper and Melissa Parker Draper ’77—will feature 10 finalists chosen from among 60 teams of students from 42 colleges and universities.

Information about how to attend the 2020 finals has been posted on the competition website.

“We are excited that we can now deliver the Draper Competition virtually to women-led teams from Smith and other higher educational institutions who are living all over the world,” says Monica Dean, director of Smith’s Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, which oversees the business plan competition. “We remain committed to supporting undergraduate women and their entrepreneurial endeavors.”

Since its inception, the Draper Competition has drawn more than 600 participating teams and provided more than $550,000 in cash and Draper University scholarships.

This year’s contestants submitted business ideas on five tracks: Product #1, Social, Product #2, Service and Web/Mobile App. A selection committee of faculty, entrepreneurs and investors reviewed the more than 100 applications and narrowed the field to the top 75 teams. After two in-person rounds of competition that had been scheduled for April were cancelled due to the coronavirus, these teams were invited to participate in this first-ever virtual event.

Judges for the finals include Melissa Parker Draper ’77 and Tim Draper; Deborah Farrington ’72; Mona Sinha ’88; Dawanna Williams ’90; Robyn Glaser, vice president of The Kraft Group; and Hannah Jones, founder and president of Nike Valiant Labs.

In addition to team presentations, the virtual finals will include a welcome by Smith President Kathleen McCartney, and video presentations about last year’s Draper Competition winners and the SmithVent team, whose design for an easily manufacturable ventilator won a global engineering design challenge.