Many agree that state agencies, universities, governments, the private sector, and others need to be involved in economic development. Problems arise when discussing what economic development means. Often, these various groups have a perception of the problem or issue based only on their point of view. The resulting definition usually involves only agricultural activity or only industrial recruitment, rather than a broader definition that explores all options.
In its basic form, an "economy" is a system for meeting the needs and wants of people in a particular geographic area (community, region, state, nation, etc.). "Development" has been defined as the improvement of the residents' well-being in a particular geographic area. This includes such measures as expanding the economic base, improving services, or providing equality of opportunities. This implies that actual development activities will depend on goals and needs identified by residents in the region of concern.
The term "economic development" refers to an expansion of the economic base through efficient allocation and use of available resources. A working definition for economic development could be any activity which provides additional jobs and income given a community's standard or quality of life.
In its broadest sense, economic development is a concept that suggests at least the maintenance of and the improvement in the standard of living identified by the people. The community should insert its will into this ongoing and dynamic process. Quality of life certainly plays a key role in this process.