Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Danny Norton Bellenger

Second Advisor

Likoebe Mohau Maruping

Third Advisor

Wesley James Johnston


Almost nineteen (19) percent of the United States population lives in rural areas according to the 2010 Census. Deficiencies in diversity of skilled labor, business support networks, and consumer demand have resulted in major barriers to economic prosperity in many of these areas. State and local governments commit valuable time and resources to economic development programs to revitalize rural communities. While post-secondary education institutions significantly augment the ecosystem, research has shown that the framework of the institution will determine the extent of the institution’s impact on entrepreneurship and economic growth. This study undertakes the research questions “Does post-secondary education influence economic performance through entrepreneurship in rural areas? What contributes to post-secondary education’s influence on entrepreneurship in rural areas?” This research used a mixed method, empirical study. Quantitative analysis is used to examine the degree that postsecondary education, entrepreneurial activity and economic performance are related to each other and to measure the strength of the association between variables. Descriptive statistics provide a summary of the variables under review. Secondarily, a qualitative study provides deeper insight for understanding quantitative findings. Data from 85 rural Georgia counties provide an opportunity sample used for this research. This study reveals that institutions are performing in four principal roles: organizational, intermediary, knowledge and policy that produce resources influencing entrepreneurship and economic performance in rural areas. Findings from this study may lead to better decision making about strategic use of postsecondary education resources for economic development in rural areas.


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