In an environment of globalization and rapid technological change, entrepreneurship and innovation have become important objectives of state, regional, and local economic development policy. Entrepreneurial focused economic development strategies target state and regional efforts towards policies--such as cluster development, business incubators, regional trade associations, and developing local entrepreneurs and small businesses. If it is imperative that states and regions pursue these strategies, researchers must begin to classify the types of programs that states and localities are using, as well as analyze and document the impact of these policies on knowledge economy variables. This research proposes to add three new and additional elements to this relatively young research stream. This dissertation will address three distinct components of entrepreneurial development policy effort.
Manuscript one clarifies and defines a research agenda on business incubators. Applying the incubator concept to the economic theories of network and agglomeration economies offers new insights concerning incubators and local economic growth. From this a research agenda based on a framework of applied economic theories is developed, along with a detailed outline of important future research questions. The second manuscript explores the scope of local and regional entrepreneurial development efforts across South Carolina. This paper reviews the relevant entrepreneurial literature and discusses the entrepreneurial landscape in South Carolina. A statewide survey and appropriate statistical modeling techniques are used to better understand the factors that influence the probability of a community having/not having an entrepreneurial development program. The third paper begins with a review of the literature on the economic benefits of municipal investment in advanced ICT infrastructure investment, small business uptake of advanced ICT and e-business technology, and an overview of the legal barriers that states have enacted that restrict local and regional investments in advanced ICT infrastructure. Further, a series of panel regressions are used to estimate the impact of ICT policy restrictions on state small business growth and entrepreneurial activity. Overall, if our nation and each state are to fully embrace a "knowledge-economy," understanding the impact the policy environment may have on a variety of economic development indicators is important for the ongoing research agenda.