Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation to Endow the Future of American Entrepreneurialism

Best Buy Founder launches one of the most comprehensive philanthropic
programs to date to support entrepreneurs

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–There were no business incubators or entrepreneurship programs when Dick
Schulze, founder of Best Buy, struggled to launch his start-up in 1966.

That experience, in large part, is why the Richard M. Schulze Family
Foundation is announcing one of the most comprehensive philanthropic
commitments to date to help secure the future of entrepreneurship in
America. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will support the study
and practice of next-generation entrepreneurs by committing $500,000
annually in the form of student scholarships, fellowships,
professorships, and a free online innovation exchange as part of its
entrepreneurship initiative.

“Entrepreneurship is valuable to our shared future – too valuable to
leave to chance,” said Schulze. “Emerging entrepreneurs – especially
those like me from working-class backgrounds – don’t have ready access
to the current thinking and tools to meet the rigors involved in
launching a new venture. We hope to change that through this initiative.”

On September 19, the foundation granted professorship awards to
accomplished entrepreneurship educators from four leading national
universities: Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the
University of Wisconsin-Madison and Northeastern University.

The foundation’s $500,000 annual commitment is over and above the $50
million founding gift that Schulze and his family made in 2000 to
establish the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship in Schulze Hall at the
University of St. Thomas’ Minneapolis campus. The foundation continues
to provide significant annual support to the Schulze School.

Innovative Technology Platform Connects Entrepreneurs with Best
Thinking and Tools

The “connective tissue” of the foundation’s
entrepreneurship initiative is the Entrepreneur
& Innovation Exchange
(EIX), which formally launched at the
EIX’s first annual conference Saturday at the Schulze School of

EIX is a free online, interactive resource that connects entrepreneurs
and students with leading scholars and consultants, successful
entrepreneurs and one another, according to Jim Wetherbe, EIX editor in
chief and an entrepreneurship professor at Texas Tech University. “The
EIX platform breaks the mold and limitations of traditional print
journals,” said Wetherbe, who played a key role creating the premiere
print journal for the IT world while at the University of Minnesota
starting in 1980. “It brings path-breaking research and ideas forward in
a matter of days and weeks, rather than months and years, and it makes
full use of Internet and social media technology to bring those ideas
alive for everyone to access and use.” EIX is fully funded by the
Schulze Family Foundation as part of this new entrepreneurship

Professorships, Scholarships and More
In addition to EIX,
the foundation’s entrepreneurship initiative will award up to 10 Richard
Schulze Distinguished Professorships to leading scholars in the field.
Distinguished Professors will receive research stipends of $50,000
annually over a three-year renewable term. Upon completion of their
professorship, they become lifetime emeritus members of the Schulze
Distinguished Professorship program.

At the September 19 EIX conference, the foundation awarded
professorships to the following four entrepreneurship professors:
Charles Eesley of the Stanford School of Business; Daniel Forbes of the
Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota; Jonathan
Eckhardt of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of
Wisconsin – Madison School of Business; and Kimberly Eddleston of the
D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University.

The inaugural Distinguished Professor award, announced in June, was made
to Professor James Wetherbe, a Distinguished Alumnus of New Mexico State
and member of its Hall of Fame. The foundation plans to award five more
professorships in 2015.

Other commitments of the foundation’s new initiative include:

  • Schulze Awards for Publication — The Schulze Awards will grant
    $25,000 annually to students or professionals in recognition of
    published entrepreneurship submissions of exceptional merit. Awards
    will be given to the winners’ chosen college or university as a
    scholarship donation.
  • Schulze Student Scholarships — The foundation will award
    $10,000 scholarship grants each year to five students who present the
    most innovative and entrepreneurial video proposals in response to an
    entrepreneurship challenge.
  • Schulze Doctoral Fellowships — Fellowships of $10,000 each
    will be awarded annually to five doctoral candidates studying
    entrepreneurship topics, based on dissertations that further
    understanding of new ventures and entrepreneurship.

About the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
The Richard
M. Schulze Family Foundation was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder and
chairman emeritus Dick Schulze to benefit the lives of middle- and
working-class families through entrepreneurial investments in education,
health and human services that have the capacity to produce measurable
and transformative results. The foundation is committed to investing $1
billion in grants to non-profit organizations primarily in the Greater
Minneapolis-St. Paul area, where Best Buy began and where Schulze raised
his family, and in the Greater Naples-Fort Myers area where Schulze


Katie Priebe, 715-571-6428
M. Schulze Family Foundation
Mark Dienhart, Ph.D., 952-324-8910