Veden Center for Rural Economic Development

The Veden Center for Rural Economic Development is a think tank dedicated to creating prosperity through innovative partnerships and development of opportunities for the region.  Ongoing work includes thought leadership with a focus on rural America post COVID-19, bridging urban and rural business opportunities, incubation and acceleration services for veterans, new Americans and economically disadvantaged populations and creating new pathways for student success following their higher education experience.



Sunflower field with a bright blue skyCatalyze, Convene and Co-Create a Vibrant Rural Future

Rural communities everywhere are discovering new potential and learning new ways to thrive. Possibilities are constantly emerging.  The Veden Center will work with communities, businesses and rural citizens to explore aspirations and build a robust future that leveraged the full promise of rural communities and its citizens.  Check the Veden site often for new ideas and inspiration!


Handshake over a wheat fieldUrban and Rural Bridges

Rich soil, diversity in crops and innovative business spirit create exceptional business development prospects in the rural, Upper Midwest. New Americans in urban centers of the Upper Midwest with their powerful work ethic and unique diets create extraordinary business development prospects for warehousing and distribution. When these two communities come together, value-added production opportunities are front and center. Working in conjunction with economic and community development organizations as well as agricultural groups, the Veden Center is creating new growth opportunities and social capital for farmers, processors and a burgeoning urban middle class.

Veteran EntrepreneurVeteran Business Acceleration

Veterans are a very innovative and entrepreneurial groups in the United States. Veterans are leaders as they are trained to execute responsibility, they are resourceful, manifest the ability to handle stressful situations, embrace diversity and inclusion, are self-directed and have a globalized view. These skills create a highly unique and innovative mindset that can be applied to accelerating business ideas, raising capital and commercializing intellectual property. The Veden Center for Veteran Business Acceleration provides veterans with end to end solutions for financing and deploying their business ideas at seed, startup and pre-revenue stages of growth.

Rural road driving towards the sunlightPathways

The United States continues to be among the most economically mobile in the world. Most notably, the Upper Midwest continues to lead the nation in economic mobility thereby making it one of the best places in the world to provide pathways for first generation college students, economically disadvantaged populations and New Americans. The Pathway Program at the Veden Center provides these groups with unique career insight, global business and community networking, and business growth and development opportunities.

Regional Value Drivers

Regional Value Drivers

Community development with agricultural undertones

Capacity Building

Rural communities throughout the Upper Midwest continue to experience demographic decline. This trajectory does not have to continue, the Veden Center provides communities, entrepreneurs and innovators with training to improve and retain the knowledge, skills, tools and abilities to build more effective growth given global economic trends and new business development opportunities.


Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Upper Midwest has provided the world with some of the most effective and innovative entrepreneurs. This global contribution was accomplished through hard work, high ethical standards and dedication as well as an exceptional ability to identify unique business development opportunities. The Veden Center works with entrepreneurs and innovators to continue this trend by providing small business advice, incubation and acceleration services and networking opportunities.


Rural Economic Research

Rural Economic Research

Food Supply System Map

Logistics and Food Systems

The Upper Midwest continues to lead the nation in farming and ranching. As a large exporter, the region must continue to embrace transformation in a highly complex and dynamic logistics and supply chain environment. The Veden Center provides training, webinars and consulting services to communities, businesses and groups that wish to grow with the region.

Training and Webinars

Training and Webinars

coming soon...

El Centro de la Mano Amiga

El Centro de la Mano Amiga

El Centro de la Mano Amiga advances the Latin Community through:

  • Educational Program Development: A cohort program assisting individuals in self-discovery.  Individuals will explore promising careers options in the region and principles of business development.  The first cohort will be launching in October 2020. Contact the Veden Center at for more information.
  • Technical Assistance: Providing high quality business job skill and entrepreneur development assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the region.
  • Learning Communities: The University of Minnesota has a vast network of expertise in almost any area affecting Minnesota. The Veden Center harnesses this expertise through the creation of Learning Communities for experts in areas most pertinent to rural Latin communities.

Mano Amiga - Español (PDF)

Mano Amiga - English (PDF)

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

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Small Business Development Center

PrintThe 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

Learn more about the SBDC in northwest Minnesota

Contact: Christine Anderson

Department Faculty & Staff

Department Faculty & Staff

BD Spec 1-Bus Dev Gnrlst, Consultant
(218) 281-8318
Comm Relations/Outreach Spec 2
(218) 281-8369
(218) 281-8343
Dir Veden Cntr Rural Econ Dev
(253) 224-3933
UMC Photo Not Available
BD Spec 3-Strat Alliances, Dir of Business Dev/Veden Chair, Rural Econ Dev
(218) 281-8342

Veden Center for Rural Economic Development

University of Minnesota Crookston

207 Selvig Hall

2900 University Ave

Crookston, MN 56716

PHONE: 218-281-8256


8:00 am - 5:00 pm, CST - Monday-Friday