Northland SBDC honored by SBA

Gov. Tim Walz, left, and SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman, right, present the 2023 Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center Award for Minnesota and SBA Region V to Vicki Hagberg, Northland SBDC’s regional director.

The Northland Small Business Development Center (Northland SBDC) has been honored with the Small Business Administration’s 2023 Small Business Development Center Excellence and Innovation Center Award for Minnesota and SBA Region V, out of all 121 SBDCs within the SBA Great Lakes Region V states of Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. 


The award was presented at a May 3 ceremony in St. Paul by U.S. SBA Administrator Isabel Guzman and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz. Vicki Hagberg, Northland SBDC’s regional director, accepted the award. 

Hagberg credits Northland SBDC consultants and partners, stating, “Our team is deeply dedicated to the success of our small business clients, and this award reflects that commitment. Our continued, consistent success is possible thanks to our excellent regional consultants, regional partners Itasca Economic Development Corporation and Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority, and our many funders at the federal, state and local levels.” 

The award celebrates Northland SBDC’s performance around new start-ups, capital infusion and client satisfaction as well as its continual improvement and innovation. In the past year, Northland SBDC has led programs around digital equity and technology adoption, developed new tools for financial management for small businesses and delivered new training courses on human resources, digital marketing and business grant opportunities. 

Northland SBDC had a record-breaking year in 2022, helping more than 900 small businesses in the region raise over $33 million in capital and assisting with 59 new business starts. Northland SBDC’s consultant team served over 900 clients across its service area that were looking to start, expand or transition their business. 

“Northeast Minnesota has a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, but it can be challenging for entrepreneurs to navigate those resources,” Hagberg noted. “Northland SBDC consultants guide and connect them to resources in addition to our one-on-one technical support with clients on financial analysis, business plans, marketing and other consulting services.”  

Hagberg notes that Northland SBDC strongly supports businesses owned by BIPOC entrepreneurs, women, veterans and people with disabilities. 

“We celebrated great milestones in 2022, including helping BIPOC entrepreneurs raise over $10 million in capital for their businesses. We served more Black, Indigenous, veterans, women and other emerging entrepreneurs than ever before. We know continued effort is needed to advance economic equity in Minnesota. Northland SBDC is committed to that work.” 

Northland SBDC provides confidential and no-cost technical assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs located in the seven counties of Northeast Minnesota, and all or portions of five Tribal Nations. 

To access Northland SBDC’s no-cost consulting services and connect with a consultant in their local community, entrepreneurs should request services online at They are hosted in the region by the Northland Foundation