$10k Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs

The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs is hosted and organized by the Center for Women and Financial Independence, Smith College’s initiative devoted to the support of innovation and entrepreneurship. Last year, three Wesleyan students made it to the trade show round! 

The competition is designed to give undergraduate entrepreneurs an experience that will help them hone their business plans and elevator pitches. The goal of the Draper Competition is to provide the best educational and entrepreneurial experience of any undergraduate business competition. You can make an appointment with Makaela Kingsley, the Director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship or Jennifer Roach, the Civic Engagement Fellow to get help with your application or pitch. There are answers to FAQs here and a heads-up about judging criteria here. First prize is $10,000.

Competition Eligibility 

  • Draper-Logo-Web-800px_000Early stage start-up 
  • Sustainable revenue model required 
  • Eligible team members must be undergraduate students
  • Non-undergraduate students may also be on the team
  • The team leader must be an undergraduate woman who played a significant role in conceiving the venture
  • Each team must have a faculty advisor

The 3 Rounds of Competition

Round One – Written Application

  • The Team Leader must complete the online application by11:59p on March 28, 2016. The application form will be available on their website between January 25 – March 21, 2016
  • An application is not considered complete until a PDF versions of the team’s Executive Summary is received at draper@smith.edu. Optional: teams may submit a PDF version of their completed Business Model Canvas as well.
  • No school affiliation information should be included in the Executive Summary or on the BMC.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 3.02.31 PMRound Two – Trade Show Expo

  • All Semi-Finalists are required to participate in the Trade Show Expo held on Competition Day (Monday, April 18, 2016).
  • During the Trade Show Expo, teams must visually showcase their ventures for the Competition Judges to evaluate and the general public to view.

Round Three – Pitch

  • The final Pitch round will be held immediately at the conclusion of Round 2 on Competition Day (Monday, April 18, 2016).
  • All Finalists will deliver a 90-second business pitch to Competition Judges and attendees and then participate in a brief Q&A session (not more than 4 minutes) with the Competition Judges.
  • First prize is $10,000 and up to three scholarships to Draper University of Heroes in San Mateo, California. **All student teams that make it to the Trade Show Expo round are guaranteed a cash prize!**


Jennifer Roach is the Civic Engagement Fellow in Allbritton for the academic year 2015-2016. She is a recent Wesleyan alumni, class of 2014. Since graduating, she has moved to Hartford to continue developing Summer of Solutions Hartford, an urban farming internship program she worked on during her time at Wesleyan.