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University of Minnesota Extension

Community development

Community economics

Help your community develop an economic strategy.

Downtown Market Analysis Toolbox

Find no-cost market research and resources to help analyze your downtown markets. These tools can help small-town businesses thrive.

Informing retail recovery

Get to know your county's retail sector. Review data on trends over time and put current numbers into content to help your local retailers.

Retaining businesses in your community

Community-based research creates a community-driven plan to support local business.

Supporting business succession and transition

Baby boomers are retiring and they're selling their businesses. Is your community ready? Learn how to support business owners before and after a transfer of ownership.

Strengthening community support for entrepreneurs

What do entrepreneurs need to succeed? Read how you can help your community focus on entrepreneurs.

Understanding local economies

How would a change impact your local economy? Find resources to help your community learn more.

Economic development projects

Do you have an economic development question that affects your community? Let us know. The EDA Center studies economic development concerns in Minnesota.

Leadership and civic engagement

Help community leaders grow and strengthen their leadership.

Assessing your leadership

Is your community willing to invest in its future? Take our assessment and discover your community's leadership strengths and priorities.

Public engagement strategies

Find resources to help you increase public involvement, assist with meeting planning, facilitation and make group decisions.

Building trust in communities

What connects you to others in your community? Learn how social capital is the glue that holds communities together and ways to build and grow trust.

Exploring the impact of charismatic leaders in communities

How do charismatic leaders impact communities? Learn about charismatic leadership, followership and the development of connections in communities.

Leadership resource publications

What would help you lead in your community? Find research-based publications for building leadership programs, creating committees that work and facilitation.

Strengthening tribal leadership

We're working to engage tribal leaders and strengthen partnerships in Minnesota. Explore ways to learn and engage with us.

Tourism development

Help create and sustain local tourism experiences.

Building local tourism

Assisting Minnesota communities with local economic growth through tourism.

Creating positive customer experiences

Do you need customer service training in your community? Our workshops and training will help you provide excellent service to all customers.

Planning and promoting agritourism

A corn maze, a barn wedding, and a tour of a bison ranch are all examples of agritourism. Learn how agritourism helps farmers and communities, and find some helpful resources.

Projects and completed studies

Learn about completed and ongoing projects and research that help inform community decisions.

A rural brain gain migration

There's a brain gain in rural Minnesota. Learn about the trend and how Extension can help your community create a vision for attracting new residents.

Greater Minnesota's economy

What factors are affecting Greater Minnesota's economy? Read about our research study. Learn how 'it's not your grandmother's rural economy anymore.'

Ripple effect mapping

How do you evaluate your community development work? Learn about ripple effect mapping (REM) and how it tells the story of a program through maps.

Rural grocery stores

Explore resources for rural grocers, results of the statewide rural grocery survey, and information on the farm-to-rural-grocery-to-wholesale backhaul project.

Rural housing solutions

How can a community attract workers without affordable housing? Learn about our rural housing study and creative solutions communities found for housing.

Research and training options

Learn how we connect with communities and about available consultation, research and training offerings.

Community research and workshops

We help communities choose their future. Together we can create research that answers your key questions or design community workshops that bring valuable information to your local discussions.

Leadership education offerings

Extension's leadership programs focus on what you need to lead in your community. Our cohort approach to leadership education helps you learn and grow new knowledge and skills to bring people together and solve problems.

Coaching and training for local business retention

Is your community ready to launch a business retention initiative in Minnesota? Extension offers training, facilitation and expert advice to community leaders to help you move through the process.

Community leadership series

Find on-demand webinars to refresh your leadership and civic engagement skills and deepen your understanding of topics important to community leaders.

Community economics webinars

Find webinars on community economic topics. Learn how to attract and retain businesses and residents, grow retail sales and understand economic changes.

Vital Connections

Learn about topics important to Minnesota communities through news articles, videos and podcasts. Use this information to get engaged in your community and help others better know, decide and act.


More learning events

View all community development learning opportunities.

Community news and insights

Read news and insights on Extension's work in communities tied to local economies, leadership, civic engagement, and tourism.

Consult with us

Community economics • Leadership and civic engagement • Tourism

Extension educators work in, and partner with, communities throughout Minnesota. Contact us for consultation, guidance and conversation about your community.

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