Amherst College Entrepreneurship Initiative


Do you have an idea for a product or venture? Do you want support and even possible funding to develop it further? Amherst College students have two exciting opportunities this spring to enter entrepreneurship competitions, get feedback and mentoring, and win up to $10,000 in cash awards. Both opportunities have deadlines of March 21st, so don’t delay! For more information, contact Kathy Glista at

Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative:

 The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) supports the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) to foster entrepreneurship education among participating colleges and universities in the region. The EI recognizes and awards students for their entrepreneurial spirit and exemplary business plans. Grinspoon Icon

Concept and Spirit Awards

To be considered for an EI Concept (early stage idea; award is $300-500) or Spirit (already revenue generating; award is $600-$1500) Award, you must complete the application form by 11:59pm on March 21st. The Career Center entrepreneurship committee will select students to nominate for these awards. More info here:

If you are nominated for an award by our entrepreneurship committee, you will be required to attend the annual Grinspoon EI Awards Ceremony & Banquet, held this year on April 26th at 5pm at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, and present your venture during the Award Winners Business Exhibition. Transportation and ticket costs will be covered by Amherst College for participating students.

Pitch Competition

The Career Center entrepreneurship committee will also nominate students to participate in the Pitch Competition held at the banquet. The prizes in this competition are $1000 (first place), $750 (second place) and $500 (third place). There is a preparatory “pitch camp” being held on Saturday, April 23rd where nominated students can receive feedback and refine their delivery.

Draper Competition:

Draper icon 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. 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. Co-ed teams are welcome to apply, but must be led by a female Team Leader who has played a significant role in conceiving the venture and will be the primary participant in competition activities.

The prizes for Draper are: $10,000 for first place (plus all-expenses paid for 6-week Draper University bootcamp); $7,500 for second place, and $5,000 for third place.

The application process for participating in this event is accessible directly from the Draper site and does not involve a nomination process on the part of the Career Center entrepreneurship committee. Applications are due by 11:59pm on March 21st, and the exhibition event and awards ceremony will be held on April 18th, from 3:30-7pm, at Smith College.