About the Holmes Center
Initially called the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the Holmes Center was built upon the legacy of legendary entrepreneur Curt Carlson and a subsequent leadership gift by Bob Buuck. In February of 2007, Gary Holmes donated $6 million for the growth of the school’s entrepreneurship teaching, research, and outreach programs, and the Center was renamed the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Holmes Center also drives outreach activities like the Minnesota Cup, a statewide business plan competition, and student programs like 3M Seminars on Technology Commercialization, designed for graduate and doctoral students in technology and science colleges at the University of Minnesota. The Center also engages the entrepreneurial business community through mentorships, internships, and business hatchery programs, in which business practitioners advise students on planning and operating their own business ventures.
Holmes Center Leadership
Academic Director, Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship
Shaker A. Zahra is the Department Chair, Robert E. Buuck Chair of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Strategy & Organization in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where he is also the Academic Director of the Gary S. Holmes Entrepreneurship Center. Dr. Zahra has served also as the Academic Co-Director of Carlson Ventures Enterprises as well as the Founding Co-Director of the Center for Integrative Leadership at University of Minnesota. Previously, Dr. Zahra was Paul T. Babson Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College and Professor of Strategy & Entrepreneurship at Georgia State University. Professor Zahra has also held the 3TU Chair in International Entrepreneurship at Nikos (the Dutch Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship) at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. Professor Zahra's research focuses on entrepreneurship and national policy, especially in global technology-based industries and companies; international entrepreneurship; corporate entrepreneurship; and capability development.
Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship
John directs the activities within the Center and is primarily responsible for leading the outreach activities and implementation of new curriculum. He holds a BSB from the Carlson School and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. John's professional background is in management consulting, private equity, and the communications industry. Most recently, he served as the CFO and director of an early-stage communications firm acquired by Verizon. As a founding principal of a $100 million private equity fund, he sourced and managed investments in numerous early-stage communications firms. John also served as CEO, CFO and board member for several start-up and early-stage technology firms. In these roles, John raised more than $300 million in capital and led numerous investments, acquisitions and divestitures. As a Principal at Gemini Consulting and Arthur Andersen, he provided strategic and financial consulting services to senior executives in Fortune 1000 firms in the United States, Europe, Asia and South Africa. In his role at the Holmes Center, John works with student and alumni entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas. He has served as a judge for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Wharton, and Minnesota Cup business plan competitions.
Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship
Roy serves as an advisor to entrepreneurial students and alumni, supports the undergraduate Entrepreneur Club, and is actively involved in the development and implementation of experiential curriculum. He has a BSB from the Carlson School and a background in corporate finance and information technology. Roy founded Plural, Inc., a New York City based information technology services company that served the financial services industry. Plural was twice named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing private companies. As a result of his accomplishments at Plural, Roy received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the New York IT Consulting category in 1999. Roy has also been named to the Crain’s New York Business "Forty under Forty" list of New York’s "rising stars" and to the CityBusiness "Forty under Forty" list of the Twin Cities’ next generation of business leaders. Since selling Plural to Dell Computer in 2002, Roy has founded businesses in real estate and consumer products. He currently serves as chairman of Revo Brand Group and is an active investor in early-stage companies.