Programs and activities

Derby Entrepreneurship Center’s Co-curricular programs and events are designed to serve all aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs in the Tufts community, whether they are a student, a faculty or staff member, an alumni, or just a friend of Tufts. Since 2020, we have made a majority of our workshops and meetups virtual so that it can be accessible to all Tufts community members all over the world. Come mingle at a meetup, learn a new skill at a workshop, or watch the finals of a pitch competition. All are welcome!

1x1 coaching and mentorship

We offer regular 30-minute pop-up coaching hours for entrepreneurial students to chat with an experienced entrepreneur about issues related to their entrepreneurial journey and career choices, or to challenges they are encountering in the process of developing their ideas and building their ventures. Coaches are a mixture of faculty members and volunteer alumni with a wealth of experience building new ventures in different sectors, in both startup and corporate settings.

We also have a highly engaged community of alumni volunteers who provide episodic mentorship to students on an as-needed basis.

Educational Workshops: The Jumbo Cafes

The Jumbo Cafes are informal, intimate educational workshops designed to help you learn how to start and build a venture of any kind. Jumbo Cafes are held on select Wednesday from 12-1:30 pm. The workshopw run from 12-1 and the last 30 minutes are an optional networking session. Jumbo Cafe workshops are open to the public. Jumbo Cafes are taught by faculty, board members, alumni and other experienced entrepreneurs in our community.

Meetups and speaker events

Innovation Month: Learn about innovation and entrepreneurship @Tufts

Derby Entrepreneurship Center and our partners will be offering a series of fun and engaging events in September to introduce students to the rich resources across Tufts to help them become innovative and entrepreneurial. We will be doing a combination of in-person and remote events, including:

  • Entrepreneurship Taco Social at the Atrium of the Science and Engineering Complex
  • virtual networking – choose your own avatar in our 2d virtual world!
  • Makerfaire at Nolop – join us in Tufts’ premiere makerspace and learn to make things with your hands! No experience required.
E&I Speaker Series

E&I stands for “Entrepreneurship and Innovation”. E&I Speaker Series are events featuring guest speakers who are successful innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, industry experts and other thought leaders, many of whom are Tufts alumni. Some of these sessions will feature speakers who are guest speaking at an undergraduate Entrepreneurship class – giving you a sneak preview inside the ENT classroom.


Venture Pitch Competitions

The Ideas Competition

The Ideas Competition is your first stop towards learning how to develop an idea into a new venture and to pitch for support. Eligible Tufts community members can take advantage of our Jumbo Cafe workshops and 1×1 pop-up coaching and pitch practice to help them pick a problem they are passionate about, and learn the process of developing a venture idea that culminates in a 2-minute pitch included in the application. 10 finalists will be selected to present live in front of experienced judges. Winning teams are eligible to win cash prizes up to $1000.

The $100k New Venture Competition

The annual $100k Venture Competition is the biggest entrepreneurship production on campus. It attracts the best innovators and entrepreneurs from students, alumni, faculty and staff from from all ten schools across the university. Teams compete for prizes and in-kind services totaling more than $100,000 in three tracks: General Technology, Social Impact, and Medical Devices & Life Science.

Applications will be open between February 1 – February 28, 2022. Semi-finalists will pitch in a run-off in mid March. Finalists will compete live in three tracks on April 8, 2022.


Entrepreneurial prizes and awards

The Montle Prize

Paul Montle (Class of 1969) created the annual The Paul and Elizabeth Montle Prize for Entrepreneurial Achievement to commend Tufts undergraduate students who demonstrate outstanding entrepreneurial skills. The award helps kick-start future leaders in the business and nonprofit world. As a token of gratitude, the winners not only accept the monetary prize, but accept a future commitment to give back to Tufts University. Winners will be awarded a total of $35,000 which will be divided between multiple individual winners.


The Ricci Prize

The Stephen and Geraldine Ricci Interdisciplinary Prize is awarded annually within the $100k New Ventures Competition. The purpose of the prize is to promote the advancement of research at Tufts through projects that assist in translation of research discoveries from the laboratory to applications that benefit society. To win the prize, you must demonstrate the commercial potential of the technology within your application. Winners are selected that best demonstrate interdisciplinary engineering design and entrepreneurial spirit in their venture.

Prize: A cash prize of $10,000, split evenly among the student team members.

The Friedman Prize

The Friedman Food & Nutrition Innovation $10k Prize, sponsored by the Tufts Food & Nutrition Innovation Institute, is a $10k prize awarded at the Tufts $100k Entrepreneurship Competition. For 2021, qualifying teams entering the Tufts $100k will be invited to also compete for the Friedman Food & Nutrition Innovation $10k Prize. This prize will be considered for any competing venture that focuses specifically on food and nutrition and creatively tackles the numerous opportunities and challenges related to the nutrition economy. We encourage diverse and creative submissions and interdisciplinary teams.

Prize: A cash prize of $10,000, split evenly among the student team members, in conjunction with additional in-kind design and legal services

Tufts Venture Accelerator

The Tufts Venture Accelerator is an 11-week-long venture accelerator that provides structure, accountability, educational experiences and more that helps entrepreneurs who are building a venture make rapid progress throughout the summer. Participants will be guided through all the key stages of venture creation, from defining their market and customer to developing and testing a solution with a go-to-market strategy and pricing architecture, to building out their financials and planning their next steps regarding financing, team and company building.

Partner resources

Tisch College

Tisch College and Derby Entrepreneurship Center work closely together to offer a variety of educational resources to students interested in social entrepreneurship. Tisch is the generous sponsor of our social impact courses and also provides support to our co-currricular programs for social impact.

Friedman School

The Friedman School’s Food & Nutrition Innovation Institute (FNII) offers entrepreneurial programming and funding support for students interested in food, nutrition and nutrition policy. FNII offers a speaker series, the Nourish Cafe, on Thursday evenings during the semester. FNII also offers the Friedman Prize administered alongside the Tufts $100k competition.


Fletcher School

The Fletcher School is a strong supporter of using entrepreneurship to create impact. Fletcher School offers a large portfolio of graduate level courses in global entrepreneurship. It also administers the D-prize which awards up to $30,000 to support a team working on a social enterprise in a developing country.

Institute for Global Leadership

The Institute for Global Leadership (IGL) administers the Empower program for Social Entrepreneurship, which provides financial support to undergraduate and graduate students to gain practical skills through experiential learning in social entrepreneurship.