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Minneapolis St. Thomas Campus

Pre-Seed Grant Program

The Schulze Pre-Seed Grant Program is designed to help St. Thomas students and recent alumni accelerate entrepreneurial ventures and innovation, expanding the transformational impact of their St. Thomas education to benefit the broader community. This resource-rich program supports emerging St. Thomas student and alumni entrepreneurs with pre-seed funding accompanied by coaching and other educational resources. Whether you are just starting out with a new venture, or you’re part-way down the path to getting funded and going to market, we want to talk with you.

Open to current St. Thomas students and alumni who have graduated within the prior six years, regardless of major. Applicants must be part of the founding team for the venture (either a founder or a founder-level leader). Only one of the founders or founder-level team members must be a St. Thomas student or alumnus/a.

Grants may be in amounts up to $10,000 per venture. Grantees will receive the first half of the funding upon their written acceptance of the grant, and the remainder will be made available at the six-month anniversary, provided the team has complied with all requirements of the program. The grants are non-dilutive, with no equity required. Grants are a one-time award. Grantees can apply again for other companies, but not the same company.

Grantee teams will have access to a number of helpful resources, including mentorship for up to two years, and the possibility of future equity investment through the Schulze Innovation Fund.


Bruce W. Nordin

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

Explore the Program

As a condition of receipt of a grant, grantee teams are expected to:

  • Actively engage with program mentors and networking opportunities.
  • Provide St. Thomas with a 60-90 second “lessons learned” video appropriate for posting on the University’s website for public viewing six months after the grant of the award.
  • Grantee teams must provide quarterly progress reports to St. Thomas and respond to brief semi-annual surveys for two years post-award that will assist St. Thomas to ensure the effectiveness of its entrepreneurship curriculum, resources and programming.

  • Venture must be an established legal entity (e.g., a registered corporation, LLC or partnership).
  • Applicants must be part of a founder or founder-level leadership team. All team members must be founders or founder-level. At least one team member must be a current University of St. Thomas student or must have been awarded a degree (Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Arts, Master’s or doctoral degree) from the University of St. Thomas within the past six years.
  • Teams must have demonstrable experience and understanding of the entrepreneurial process and familiarity with the framework of lean startup.
  • Teams must disclose in their application all sources of funding that the team and venture have received.
  • If available, applicants should include a current balance sheet for the venture as part of their application.
  • Teams must provide detail on how they plan to allocate the grant capital.
  • Team members must commit to work actively on their venture for at least 60 hours per month per team member.
  • Teams must provide a quarterly progress report for the two years following receipt of the grant.

One application is required per founding team. The application process contains two parts:

  1. Applicants must complete an application form with details about their team, idea, the problem they are trying to solve, how they were inspired to solve the problem, their proposed solution, and how the solution might support a sustainable, stand-alone business.
  2. Each founding team must submit a 60-90 second video and provide a link to the video in the application form. This video must contain two elements:
    1. Team – who are you and what you do currently.
    2. Idea – provide an elevator pitch about the problem and how you are trying to solve it, your proposed solution, and why you are passionate about your venture.

Teams may be required to interview with the selection committee.

Apply Here.

Each application will be reviewed by a selection committee comprising Schulze School of Entrepreneurship faculty and staff within one month following submission. If an interview will be required, teams will be notified within this time period. Promptly following the review and any required interview, teams will be notified of their acceptance status and, if applicable, the grant amount.

Apply Now

The Pre-Seed Program will accelerate your entrepreneurial ventures and innovation.