Scaling up: Williams showed a knack for design and business from an early age. In elementary school, she fashioned her own stationery and sold it door to door. Later, she started a business selling purses swathed in laminated photos from magazines. During her freshman year of college, after being inspired by artisans she encountered on a trip to Italy, she started a jewelry business called Tramonti, the Italian word for sunset. After two years selling primarily through trunk shows -- the pieces range from $30 to $300 -- Williams set up an e-commerce site last year (tramontibywhitney.com). Now she's planning for expansion, to coincide with her graduation. A factory in Hong Kong is waiting to produce her necklaces and earrings, and a big department store has expressed interest in her line, which she hopes to expand into a full-blown lifestyle brand with shoes, clothing, and accessories.

Back to America's Coolest College Start-ups 2010