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Investing in Tommie Entrepreneurs

Schulze Innovation Fund

Supporting Innovative Businesses Founded by St. Thomas Alumni and Students

The Schulze Innovation Fund originated in 2017 to help entrepreneurial St. Thomas students and alumni launch and grow their businesses. This multi-bottom line fund invests in new ventures and supports entrepreneurs. It also helps connect recipients of the Schulze Innovation Fund to valuable mentors and advisors to help them plan for sustainable success.

Students from the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, the School of Engineering and all of St. Thomas programs are encouraged to apply by submitting their business plan. At least one of the new venture founders needs to be a student or alumni of the University of St. Thomas.

Selected ventures can receive up to $100,000 as equity or a convertible note with possible follow on investment.


Bruce W. Nordin

Executive Fellow & Director
Phone Number
(651) 962-4092

About Richard M. Schulze

Richard M. “Dick” Schulze, is the founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co., Inc. Schulze and his late wife, Sandra, donated $50 million to build Schulze Hall, home of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship. Since 1995, Schulze has served on the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees and is chairman of the Board of Governors for the St. Thomas Opus College of Business.

How to Apply

We invite all St. Thomas students and alumni to apply for the Schulze Innovation Fund by submitting an original business plan. Not all business plans will lead to funding, yet each student and alumni can benefit from input and advice from the investment team, mentors and advisors.

Several key criteria are used to screen investment opportunities. The fund may:

  • Call on a network of volunteer consultants in cases where specific technical expertise or additional business perspective as required
  • Invite entrepreneurs to meet with selected members of the network during the review process, and
  • Involve graduate and undergraduate students in the Opus College of Business in the review and due diligence process

Return on equity invested will be deposited for re-investment into new ventures. The long-term goal of the fund is to preserve donated capital and maximize returns that ensure its longevity.