The EDA Center | at the University of Minnesota  
Technical Assistance

The EDA Center at the University of Minnesota, Crookston is one of more than 40 university centers nationwide, supported by the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The EDA Center conducts applied research, provides direct technical assistance and delivers educational programs to economic development agencies that support the economy of economically-distressed rural communities throughout Minnesota.

This Request for Assistance (RFA) is designed to solicit requests from community, county and regional economic development agencies seeking direct technical assistance to support their economic development activities. This RFA will be the mechanism by which the EDA Center will identify its annual technical assistance projects. All project requests will be assessed by EDA Center staff and advisory council for staff costs and time commitments.

Eligible Applicants

Public, tribal-supported and nonprofit economic development agencies supporting rural areas.

Types of Assistance

The EDA Center does not specifically define the types of assistance that rural economic development agencies may seek. Accordingly, the EDA Center will accept and review all requests for assistance from eligible applicants. The driving consideration in evaluating RFAs is potential regional impact and availability of university expertise. Typically, the EDA Center has found success finding expertise in assisting economic development in organizations in the following ways:

  • Market Research
  • Technology Studies
  • Workforce Development Studies & Support
  • Economic Impact Analysis
  • Student-supported Projects and Internships
  • Product Development Assistance
  • Strategic Planning Services
  • Statistical Studies
  • Technology Deployment Planning
  • Support of Entrepreneurial Program Development
Project Timelines

Due to constraints of EDA funding, project time lines should be less than 12 months in duration.

Costs of Assistance

The EDA Center does not have require matching resources it delivers technical assistance to, however we generally limit average project costs to less than $20,000. In addition, the EDA Center takes a partnership approach with the organizations it serves rather than an outside consultant. This means that technical assistance projects include clear mutual responsibilities between the EDA Center and the economic development agency.

EDA Center Priorities

The EDA Center will assess technical assistance requests based on the following criteria:

  1. Location in an economically-distressed area.
  2. Impact on job creation, recruitment or retention.
  3. Impact on the effectiveness of the economic development agency.
  4. Project duration of less than 12 months.
  5. Overall project costs.
How to Apply

The application process to request assistance from the EDA Center is simple and streamlined. Simply complete the RFA application along with a cover letter.

Click here to download an interactive PDF version of the application form to submit via mail.
Click here to submit your application online.

Application Deadlines

Each application cycle has its own deadlines identified at our website at

Have Questions?

Kent Olson, Ph.D.
Director of EDA
Phone: 612.625.7723

458 Coffey Hall
1420 Eckles Ave.
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108

Eddie Walker, Ph.D.
Research Analyst
Phone: 218.281.8251

110D Sahlstrom Conference Center
2900 University Ave.
University of Minnesota Crookston
Crookston, MN 56716

This document was prepared by the University of Minnesota, Crookston under award number 06-66-05709 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.