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The Schulze Innovation Scholarship Program

The Schulze Innovation Scholarship program at the University of St. Thomas is a four-year full-tuition scholarship and premier academic program designed to help launch the careers of students ready to tackle big challenges through innovation and entrepreneurial leadership.

Students selected into the program will gain the capabilities and creative confidence they need to pursue their entrepreneurial goals through any of three possible paths: launching their own start up ventures, pursuing careers that drive innovation within large corporations, or leading new social impact ventures.

The scholarship is named after Richard M. “Dick” Schulze, lifelong entrepreneur who founded and led retail giant Best Buy. Mr. Schulze has been an active supporter of entrepreneurial education at University of St. Thomas. His generous gifts led to the founding of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship in 2005.

For more information:
Laura Dunham
Associate Dean, Schulze School of Entrepreneurship

About the Schulze Innovation Program

The Schulze Innovation Scholarship is a cohort program admitting up to 10 freshman and transfer students per year. These students will participate in a rich and diverse educational experience focused on experiential learning, individual mentoring, and access to unique opportunities for networking, internships, and personalized skill development. To build a solid foundation of success, Schulze Innovation Scholars live on campus the first year of their St. Thomas career, and are expected to participate in programming initiatives throughout their four years at St. Thomas. These initiatives are focused on building community, providing one-on-one support, and accelerating each student’s development as an entrepreneurial leader. 

Students will graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to make the most of their talents, ambitions and entrepreneurial opportunities. Should they choose to launch a start up upon graduation, they will have the opportunity to work with business advisors and mentors and to receive access to seed capital.

Program Benefits
  • Full-tuition scholarship for 4 years
  • Small classes with specially designed, experiential learning opportunities
  • Up to two paid internships (startup, corporate innovation or social enterprise)
  • Mentorships and networking opportunities
  • Intentional entrepreneurial leadership development – connect with entrepreneurial leaders, local entrepreneurship community and university leaders, speakers, programs and other purposeful engagement
  • Funding to attend regional and national competitions
  • Optional: admittance to Schulze School post-graduation accelerator and access to seed capital for student start ups


Selection Criteria & Process

Selection Criteria
  • Acceptance to St. Thomas (minimum 3.0 GPA; 27 ACT)
  • Entrepreneurship major (can be taken as part of a double major in another business or non-business discipline)
  • Demonstrated entrepreneurial creativity and inventiveness, as described in application through concrete example of entrepreneurial venture/initiative
Selection Process

Application - due January 3

  • Essay describing entrepreneurial endeavors, and providing concrete example(s) of the student’s experience applying the entrepreneurial spirit to problem solving and to the development of new ideas, initiatives or ventures
  • Video pitch articulating why applicant should be selected for the scholarship
  • Letter of reference

Applicants should describe previous entrepreneurial endeavors, and provide evidence of entrepreneurial creativity and initiative. The Selection Committee will select the finalists who show the most promise as innovative, creative problem solvers, on the basis of their application.

Scholarship Day for Finalists - February 23

  • Selected candidates, with their parents, will be invited to tour campus, meet faculty/ staff and participate in thoughtful interviews and strategic exercises that will help selection committee learn more about their aspirations and character, their view of the world and why the scholarship will make a difference. Attendance at Scholarship Day is required.