Contributions of the university of georgia to economic development: a new perspective of how business owners perceive the university effects on the community
Bettner, Steven M
MetadataShow full item record
Universities contribute positively to the economic development of the community in which they are located. This research seeks to find out the impact of University of Georgia on the town of Athens and business owner’s decision making regarding the business location near universities and colleges. The question of how business owners describe measures that will enhance economic development when considering the university’s role in the community is also investigated. The researcher explored case study methodology in research design approach. Limited in-depth personal interviews and surveys were used to collect data. Survey data was collected through emails disseminated to the local business community with Athens, Georgia as the area of focus of the study. Business owners operating in construction, hospitality, manufacturing and retail industries in proximity to the University of Georgia or within Athens-Clarke County were selected through purposeful sampling for interviews. Three business owners interviewed were service providers, one was operating in manufacturing, and two were each in construction and consulting. An open-ended interview guide was deployed to direct the semi-structured interview process. Electronic Impact Study Business Questionnaire was used to collect survey data. Results show that a great number of respondents at (N=31) believes that when a university is located within a community, business opportunities are realized which will ultimately lead to the development and economic growth. The decision to locate a business closer to universities offers opportunities for partnership and access to human capital. Universities were also found to create demand. Student’s practical skills and strengthened partnership with the university were identified as two factors that will enhance economic development.