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 collaborates with the Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) Center, and the Veden Center as well as educational opportunities for individuals and organizations, such as classes, workshops, and certificate programs for workforce, business to strengthen the vitality of northwest Minnesota.

Minnesota Monday Logo

Minnesota Monday - June 8 through July 6, 2020

The University of Minnesota Extension, UMN Crookston's Office of Outreach & Engagement together with resources from Minnesota Ag In the Classroom and Pine Lake Wild Rice Farm Inc. will host a 5-week, virtual, 15 minute, on-demand, weekly series that will touch on regional, agricultural-based content sharing basic concepts in science, agriculture, nutrition.

View the Minnesota Monday Series

Programs and Services

Programs and Services

Who we are:

The Office of Outreach & Engagement leads and coordinates promotion, and outreach efforts for the University. Through collaboration internally and externally to establish and advance UMN Crookston's reputation as a premier provider of education. By strengthening regional and state-wide relationships with corporate and community partners facilitating student needs such as internships, sponsorships, etc.  The Office of Outreach & Engagement to provides overall management, coordination, and leadership of University community programs, including strategic visioning and planning, and program budgeting and fundraising.  Special event coordination for the Campus such as invited speakers, celebrations and several annual events.

We build alliances and partnerships to deliver innovative programs and services in support of regional community and pathways for individuals to be involved with UMN Crookston as students, supporters and funders. By creating and sustaining strong relationships with public and private partners increased partnerships, generating new revenue while being accountable for budgets.  Work includes effective collaboration within and between UMN admin offices, campus committees and academic units. The Office too evelops, delivers and promotes innovative profitable programs for new, underserved or untapped markets.

The EDA and the SBDC area available to 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 entrepreneurial conversations
  • Disseminating what is learned to those who can use to lead and make data driven decisions

SBDC and EDA 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

  • 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

Maroon & Gold Friday's

Maroon & Gold Friday's

Regal the Eagle, students, faculty and/or staff will be visiting businesses on Fridays. Beginning Sept. 2019 through May 2020. Any participating and registered Maroon and Gold business/organization wearing maroon and gold during that visit will win tickets to UMC Athletics games. Winners will then be entered into a drawing to win the grand prize of a $250 office party pack from a local establishment.  Two office parties will be awarded one at the end of fall and spring semesters.

Register Now at z.umn.edu/mgfridays

Fall Semester Maroon and Gold Winner
American Federal Bank, November 15 2019 maroon and gold visits

American Federal Bank was among 28 Crookston businesses who participated, UMN Crookston thanks each and every one of them. The following businesses participated in Maroon and Gold Fridays: Crookston United Insurance, CHEDA - Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority, Crookston Inn and Convention Center, Wonderful Life Foods, Widseth Smith Nolting, Crookston Times, Biermaier Chiropractic Clinic, Altru Clinic, Choice Therapy, Crookston Hardware Hank, AmericInn By Wyndham, First Community Credit Union, City of Crookston, Anytime Fitness, American Federal Bank, Erickson Embroidery, RiverView Health, Strander Guaranty & Title, Opticare-Crookston Vision Associates, RBJ's Restaurant, B & E Meats, Hugo's Grocery Store, Brost Chevrolet, Christian Brothers Ford, Studio 108, Shear Sisters, Daroo's, Crookston Chamber of Commerce. American Federal Bank is the recipient of the $250 Office Party, their choice, Crookston Inn.  

Maroon and Gold Friday's is a Community outreach effort within Crookston, and the surrounding area, to show support and camaraderie between businesses, organizations and the University of Minnesota Crookston.

For more information on Maroon and Gold Friday's contact Michelle Christopherson, Director of Outreach & Engagement mchristo@umn.edu or 218.281.8369


See our November 8, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to Studio 108, Shear Sisters and Daroo's.

See our November 1, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to Hugo's Grocery, Brost Chevrolet and Christian Brother's Ford

See our October 25th, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to B & E Meats, Opticare, Strandner Abstract and RBJ's Restaurant.

See our September 27, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to American Federal Bank, Erickson Embroidery, City of Crookston and Anytime Fitness of Crookston.

See our September 20, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to Hardware Hank, Choice Therapy, AmericInn, First Community Credit Union, 

See our September 13, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to Opticare of Crookston, El Gordito, City of Crookston, Strandner Abstract & Title, Studio 108, H & R Block, Crookston Times, Altru, and Biermaier Chiropractic.

See our September 6, 2019 maroon and gold visits here.
Special thanks to Widseth Smith Nolting, Wonderful Life Foods, United Valley Insurance, Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority, Garett Collin - Thrivent Financial and the Crookston Inn & Convention Center.

Department Faculty & Staff

Department Faculty & Staff

BD Spec 1-Bus Dev Gnrlst, Consultant
(218) 281-8318
Comm Relations/Outreach Spec 2
(218) 281-8369
BD Spec 1-Bus Dev Gnrlst
(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