University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Businessman Jay Schuler named first Lynn Holaday Entrepreneur-in-Residence

The University of North Dakota Center for Innovation announced this week that Jay Schuler of Wahpeton has been named the first Holaday Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

“Schuler is a serial entrepreneur with a strong track record of success, a passion for the next generation of entrepreneurs and a commitment to students and entrepreneurial education,” said Bruce Gjovig, director of the Center and entrepreneur coach. The Center is part of the UND College of Business and Public Administration.

“I believe that for rural communities to survive and prosper, they need to create an environment for startups to form and thrive,” Schuler said. “Every year, because of regulations, it is more difficult to start a new business. Progressive communities have business incubators where entrepreneurs can get help, overcome the hurdles and gain assistance in growing the businesses.”

Schuler said he looks forward to ongoing engagement with the entrepreneur students at UND.

“I have done some advising and coaching of new business owners the past five years,” Schuler said. “This is a new and a more focused challenge. I look forward to giving back to the next generation of entrepreneurs. I want to be of value to the Center, the entrepreneur program, and most import, the students. I believe in what UND is doing!”

Schuler, an active marathon runner, has been involved in 15 start-ups. He launched his first venture, a hybrid seed company, while in college in 1973.

His sons, Robert and Jason, alumni of the UND Entrepreneur Program and leaders in GIANT Sunflower Seeds, have expanded the venture since their UND days.

About Bart and Lynn Holaday

Since 2001, Bart and Lynn Holaday have supported numerous hands-on learning programs with the Center for Innovation Foundation, including establishing the nation’s first fully student-run venture fund, the Dakota Venture Group. Thus students could learn venture capital investing through building a venture fund portfolio. The Holadays believe in learning by doing and learning from those who are experienced and successful.

Their Entrepreneur-in-Residence endowment supports an experienced entrepreneur to reside part-time with the UND Center for Innovation to work with entrepreneur-minded students and emerging entrepreneurs.

From the Holaday's founding of the Dakota Foundation, Lynn, who passed away in 2010, served as executive director and joined Bart in support of the foundation’s mission to promote entrepreneurship and job creation in North Dakota and New Mexico, and to sponsor scholarships at Bart’s alma mater, Exeter College of England’s Oxford University.

Bart Holaday served as Chair of the UND Center for Innovation Foundation from 2004 to 2012, and served the Foundation since 2002. He remains on the Foundation board to support innovation, entrepreneurship and private investment for new ventures.

He is president and owner of Dakota Renewable Energy Fund, which invests in early stage ventures in North Dakota. He is on the board of directors of Adams Street Partners, a private equity investment firm; Alerus Financial of Grand Forks; MDU Resources, Inc.; the United States Air Force Academy Endowment (former-chair); the Falcon Foundation (former vice president); Jamestown College, UND Foundation and is chairman and CEO of the Dakota Foundation.

In 2005, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters from UND.

-- Bruce Gjovig, director, Center for Innovation, 739.3132, bruce@innovators.net