Reason #8 You Should Visit
The Pioneer spirit
Class of 2018
Environmental science and policy and architecture double major
The Jill Ker Conway Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center helped turn my sustainable olive tree startup dream into a reality. When I visited my father in the Italian Sabina region, I noticed the prevalence of family olive oil cultivation. Frequently, these groves did not generate revenue, and an increasing number were being abandoned. In the United States, there’s a demand for organic non-GMO products and an interest in food education. I saw an opportunity and wrote a business plan in my microeconomics class for a sustainable olive oil company, Libellula, which means dragonfly in Italian.
“I have received an incredible amount of support from Smith alumnae.”
The company allows customers to adopt an olive tree from a family farmer and receive nine liters of extra-virgin olive oil delivered to their doorstep. On a whim, I submitted the plan for Libellula to the annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs and won third place. I spent my sophomore summer in Italy laying the groundwork before launching the company. I take advantage of Smith's resources, including the Conway Center, the Design Thinking Initiative and CEEDS, to help me develop my startup. President McCartney adopted our first olive tree, and I received an incredible amount of support from Smith alumnae. I even met with Smith’s dining director, Andy Cox, to talk about current trends related to sustainability in the restaurant business! I truly believe that founding Libellula while a student at Smith has been crucial to the company’s early success.