Local economic development (LED) offers local government, the private and not-for-profit sectors, and local communities the opportunity to work together to improve the local economy. It focuses on enhancing competitiveness, increasing sustainable growth and ensuring that growth is inclusive. LED encompasses a range of disciplines including physical planning, economics and marketing. It also incorporates many local government and private sector functions including environmental planning, business development, infrastructure provision, real estate development and finance.
The practice of local economic development can be undertaken at different geographic scales. A local government pursues LED strategies for the benefit of its jurisdiction, and individual communities and areas within a local government's jurisdiction can also pursue LED strategies to improve their economic competitiveness. Such approaches are most successful if pursued in partnership with local government strategies. LED is thus about communities continually improving their investment climate and business enabling environment to enhance their competitiveness, retain jobs and improve incomes. Local communities respond to their LED needs in many ways, and a variety of approaches can be taken that include: