‘Trailblazer’ Marcia Page named 2017 U of M Entrepreneur of the Year

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Marcia Page, ‘83 MBA, grew up as the oldest of three children in Olivia, Minnesota — a long way from the regional headquarters she established in London and Singapore as part of the $12 billion global investment fund she co-founded in 1993. Page was inspired by her hard-working parents and received her entrepreneurship education at a very young age by working in her father’s Snyder Drug store in Olivia. 

Marcia Page

While Page learned the value of customer service from her father, it was her mother, Olivia’s first female mayor and a University of Minnesota regent, who instilled the quiet confidence in her to challenge the status quo and blaze her own trails on a global scale as chairwoman of Minneapolis-based Värde Partners.

In recognition of her success, Page has been named the 2017 University of Minnesota Entrepreneur of the Year.

Page started her career at Cargill after earning her MBA from the Carlson School and developed a keen analytical sense for finding opportunities in complex global distressed assets. Sensing an opportunity after cutting her teeth on an earlier fund, Page co-founded Värde Partners with George Hicks and Greg McMillan in 1993. After nearly three years, the founders began to receive paychecks.  Now, more than two decades later, Page serves as chairwoman of a firm with $12 billion of assets under management and 250 employees in 12 offices around the world.

A pioneer in the male-dominated global investment industry, Page demonstrated her value by leading the development of the firm’s disciplined investment principles and values-based approach. During a time when diversity wasn’t always appreciated, she was never afraid to lead by example and challenge the status quo.

“Businesses are better served by having the varied perspectives around the table,” Page notes. “To the extent that those voices are not included, you come to a lesser decision.”

This team-oriented culture became a cornerstone of the firm’s success.

Page serves as a role model in the community, regularly speaking to students while serving on the Carlson School Board of Overseers and the board of trustees at Gustavus Adolphus. She also supports the Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund to honor her mother’s commitment to rural communities and sustainable development.

Page is an active leader within the Committee of 200, an organization of the world’s most successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators. Fellow Committee of 200 member and Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship advisory board Chair Judy Corson lauded Page’s selection as Entrepreneur of the Year.

“We are thrilled to recognize Marcia on her remarkable entrepreneurial career and for the inspiration she provides for the next generation of women entrepreneurs,” Corson says. “She is a true trailblazer.”