Outreach and Engagement

The Office of Outreach and Engagement works to develop relationships, plan, deliver and manage innovative pathways to strengthen the vitality of the campus and region. We do this by engaging corporate organizations to strengthen University events. 

UMN Crookston's Office of Outreach & Engagement offers business consulting through the Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Center, as well as educational opportunities for individuals and organizations, such as classes, workshops, and certificate programs on popular computer software and business and leadership skills.

Programs and Services

Programs and Services

Who we are:

Each semester the EDA and the SBDC integrate projects into courses offered on the University of Minnesota Crookston campus. These projects become an integral part of the course curriculum and are designed to benefit small business owners and entrepreneurs, while providing students with real-world business experiences.  

  • Services for existing businesses
  • Services for start-ups
  • Training workshops and seminars
  • Professional, confidential consulting

We commit University resources to work with community partners on:

  • Advancing high-growth entrepreneurship.
  • Business expansion including small and medium sized as well as ethnically diverse enterprises.
  • Developing a high-skilled regional workforce.

What we do:

  • Engaging innovators and economic developers
  • Conducting research and provide analysis and technical assistance
  • Facilitating educational and entreprenuerial conversations
  • Disseminating what is learned to those who can use to lead and make data driven decisions

Activities are no cost to the client and include, but are not limited to:

  • Marketing and management strategies
  • Business plans
  • Assistance with accounting software
  • Marketing research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Social media marketing

Other Services by the Office of Outreach and Engagement

  • Student to Business Initiative (SBI) Registration

  • SBDC consulting request

  • Assistance for starting a business

  • Assistance for managing & growing a business

  • Education & training opportunities

  • Facilities & planning services

  • Classes & events

  • Partner organizations

Economic Development Administration (EDA) Center

Economic Development Administration (EDA) Center

Your University EDA partner in Minnesota

The University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota Crookston are the home for the EDA University Center, with designated funding from the U.S. Economic Development Association to bring University research to economic development concerns in Minnesota. Extension Community Economics educators located across the state connect the EDA Center to communities with economic development questions. The University of Minnesota Crookston, especially through its Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, has deep roots to the communities of Northwest Minnesota and brings its work to the people and communities there. 

With current funding, which will last from 2016 - 2021, we will commit University resources to work with community partners on:

1)  advancing high-growth entrepreneurship;

2) business expansion including small- and medium-sized and ethnically diverse enterprises; and, 

3)  developing a high-skilled regional workforce. 

What do we do? Staff and faculty at the University of Minnesota Extension and the University of Minnesota Crookston:

  • Engage economic developers, community and regional leaders, and state leaders to hear their on-the-ground questions and concerns
  • Conduct applied research that looks at critical questions and local concerns
  • Provide technical assistance to community leaders as they lead and decide
  • Deliver educational presentations and facilitate community conversations about economic development
  • Disseminate what we learn to those who can use the information to lead and decide

To learn more about the EDA Center, visit their website - edacenter.umn.edu

Contact: Lee Groeschl

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Small Business Development Center


The mission of the Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is to improve economic growth in Minnesota by providing assistance to small businesses in order to increase the number of new business start-ups, expand existing small businesses, and reduce the number of small business failures.

This will, in turn, preserve and create new jobs and economic opportunities for many Minnesotans. All services are confidential and are low cost or no cost. Information services and initial business counseling are free. Minimal fees are charged for seminars, workshops, cash flows, and market research.

There are now 22 Centers in Minnesota. The Department of Employment and Economic Development is the lead institution for the SBDC Consortium.

Services for Every Stage

You have a great concept, but don’t know where to start. Our business readiness assessment process helps you take the leap from concept to reality; we’ll help you develop your plan and walk with you down the path to success.

You have launched your business, the “Open” sign is up, but you’ve found that things aren’t going as you expected. Maybe customers aren’t coming or they’re coming too quickly. We provide the guidance you need during the formative years when businesses run the greatest risk of failure.

Well Established
Maybe you’re ready to expand and take things to the next level. Or, you’re growing and you don’t know how to manage all the demands. We can provide the professional guidance you need to make the critical strategic decisions necessary for long-term growth, profitability and success!

The SBDC offers confidential one-on-one consulting at no cost to qualified individuals or business owners. We can help you identify, understand and overcome the challenges of running a successful business. We provide relevant, realistic and sound advice you can trust in such areas as:

• Access to capital and loan packaging
• Financial review, assessment and management
• General marketing and research
• Marketing plan assessment and development
• Business start-up/purchase feasibility
• Start-up considerations
• Business plan development
• Succession and strategic planning

To learn more about the SBDC in northwest Minnesota, please visit their website - https://mn.gov/deed/business/help/sbdc/find-sbdcs/sbdc-northwest.jsp 

Contact: Christine Anderson

Office of Public Engagement

Office of Public Engagement

Department Faculty & Staff

Department Faculty & Staff

Business Dev Spec 1, Consultant
(218) 281-8318
Comm Relations/Outreach Spec 2
(218) 281-8369
Business Dev Spec 1
(218) 281-8349

Outreach and Engagement

University of Minnesota Crookston

108-B Selvig Hall

2900 University Ave

Crookston, MN 56716

PHONE: 218-281-8369

FAX: 218-281-8040



M-F 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Or by appointment