Honors College

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date



This study examines the impact a system for innovation can have on local economic development. Traditional economic development in a University community focuses on three options: attract large companies to the area, develop tourism or expand R&D (Richert, 2011). While this model has a number of success stories over the last 50 years, the 21st century has made this model obsolete.

From globalization to a rapidly changing technological environment, 21st century factors mean towns are no longer able to develop strategies or objectives in a time frame adequate to meet the demands of a modern economy. Municipalities that have purposefully or accidentally developed a system for utilizing economic assets have been more successful at weathering the short-term economic changes, and this thesis examines how any town may begin to develop a sustainable method and system for economic development.