Profile photo of Thomas S. Lyons, Ph.D.
Thomas S. Lyons, Ph.D.
Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship, Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Marketing and Entrepreneurship
B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
  (423) 425-5725
  545 Oak Street, Room 202

Dr. Thomas Lyons is the Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business. His research interests are entrepreneurship skills measurement and development, the relationship between entrepreneurship and community economic development and social entrepreneurship. He is the co-author of thirteen books and numerous articles and papers on these subjects, and has edited a three-volume set on social entrepreneurship (Social Entrepreneurship: How Businesses Can Transform Society, 2012). His co-authored book Understanding Social Entrepreneurship is the leading textbook on this subject, used at over 80 universities around the world. He was one of the pioneering scholars in developing the concept of “entrepreneurial communities,” or “entrepreneurial ecosystems,” and he continues to conduct research on this subject. In 2011, Dr. Lyons received the Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award from the Community Development Society. He is a practicing entrepreneur, who has co-founded two companies. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


Entrepreneurship Skills Measurement and Development
Relationship between Entrepreneurship and Community Economic Development
Social Entrepreneurship


Ph.D. – 1987, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.A. – 1979, Loyola University, Chicago
B.A. – 1975, Butler University



Lyons, T.S., Hamlin, R.E., & Hamlin, A. (2018). Using Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation to Mitigate Wealth Inequality. Boston, MA: DelG Press.

Kickul, J., & Lyons, T.S. (2016). Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever-Changing World, Second Edition (updated, with four new chapters). New York: Routledge.

Lyons, T.S. (Ed.). (2012). Social Entrepreneurship: How Businesses Can Transform Society (three-volume set). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ ABC-CLIO.

Kickul, J., & Lyons, T.S. (2012). Understanding Social Entrepreneurship: The Relentless Pursuit of Mission in an Ever-Changing World. New York: Routledge. (Translated into Russian)

Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T.S. (2010). Investing in Entrepreneurs: A Strategic Approach to Building a Stronger Regional and Community Economy. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger/ABC-CLIO. 3

Koven, S. G., & Lyons, T.S. (2010). Economic Development: Strategies for State and Local Practice, Second Edition (revised and updated). Washington: DC: International City/County Management Association. (Digital publication: March 14, 2017).

Koven, S. G., & Lyons, T.S. (2003). Economic Development: Strategies for State and Local Practice Washington D.C.: International City/County Management Association.

Hamlin, R. E., & Lyons, T.S. (2003). Financing Small Business in America: Debt Capital in a Global Economy, Westport, CT: Praeger.

Lyons, T.S., & Hamlin, R. E. (2001). Creating an Economic Development Action Plan, Revised and Updated Edition: A Guide for Development Professional, Westport, CT: Praeger.

Meyer, P. B., Lyons, T.S., & Clapp, T. L. (2000). Projecting Environmental Trends from Economic Forecasts, Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing (Re-published in 2017 by Routledge).

Hamlin, R. E., & Lyons, T.S. (1996). Economy without Walls: Managing Local Development in a Restructuring World, Westport, CT: Praeger.

Lyons, T.S., & Lichtenstein, G. A. (1996). Incubating New Enterprises: A Guide to Successful Practice, Washington D.C.: The Aspen Institute. (Translated into Spanish)

Lyons, T.S., & Hamlin, R. E. (1991). Creating an Economic Development Action Plan: A Guide for Development Professionals, New York: Praeger.



Yang, S., Kher, R., & Lyons, T.S. (2018). Where do accelerators fit in the venture creation pipeline? Different values brought by different types of accelerators. Entrepreneurship Research Journal. DOI: 10.1515/erj-2017-0140.

Lyons, T.S., Miller, S.R., & Mann, J.T. (2018). A new role for land grant universities in the rural innovation ecosystem? Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, 48 (2): 32-47.

Lyons, T.S., & Lee, M. (2018). The support ecosystem for regional food network entrepreneurship. Choices Magazine, 33 (2).

Lyons, T.S., Rogoff, E.G., & Dean, M. (2018). How entrepreneurship support organizations can better serve immigrant entrepreneurs. American Journal of Entrepreneurship, 10 (1), 56-90.

Lyons, T.S. (2015). Entrepreneurship and community development: What matters and why? Invited Essay, Community Development, 46 (5), 456-460. DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2015.1085194.

Markley, D.M., Lyons, T.S., & Macke, D.W. (2015). Creating entrepreneurial communities: Building community capacity for ecosystem development. Community Development, 46 (5), 580-598.

Kickul, J., & Lyons, T.S. (2015). Financing social enterprises. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 5 (2), 83-86. 4

Lyons, T.S., & Wyckoff, B. (2014). Facilitating community wealth building: Understanding the roles played and capacities needed by coordinating institutions. Community Development, 45 (5), 443-457.

Davila-Aguirre, M. C., Hanley, L.M., Lozano-Fernandez, G., & Lyons, T.S. (2014). Leveraging low-income farmers’ performance through empowerment: Analysis of a sustainable initiative in Mexico, Management & Marketing. Challenges for the Knowledge Society, 9(2), 173-190.

Schulman, S. A., & Lyons, T.S. (2014). New Frontiers of the Innovation Economy and Education, Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 4 (1), 137-146, DOI: 10.1515/erj-2013-0075.

Lyons, T.S., & Kickul, J. (2013). The Social Enterprise Financing Landscape: The Lay of the Land and New Research on the Horizon. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 3 (2), 147-159.

Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T.S. (2012). Lessons from the Field: Mapping Saskatchewan's Pipeline of Entrepreneurs and Enterprises in Order to Build a Provincial Operating System for Entrepreneurship. Community Development, 43 (1), 113-129, DOI: 10.1080/15575330.2011.645044.

Lyons, T.S., Alter, T.R., Audretsch, D., & Augustine, D. (2012). Entrepreneurship and Community: The Next Frontier of Entrepreneurship Inquiry. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 2 (1), Article 1, DOI: 10.2202/2157-5665.1064.

Shinnar, R. S., Aguilera, M. B., & Lyons, T.S. (2011). Co-Ethnic Markets: Financial Penalty or Opportunity? International Business Review, 20(6), 646-658.

Kutzhanova, N., Lyons, T.S., & Lichtenstein, G.A. (2009). Skill-Based Development of Entrepreneurs and the Role of Personal and Peer Group Coaching in Enterprise Development. Economic Development Quarterly, 23(3), 193-210.

Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T.S. (2008). Revisiting the Business Life Cycle: Proposing an Actionable Model for Assessing and Fostering Entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 9(4).

Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T.S. (2006). Managing the Community's Pipeline of Entrepreneurs: A Fresh Approach to Economic Development Strategies. Economic Development Quarterly, 20(4), 377-386.

Lyons, T.S. (2006). Creating a Complete Entrepreneurial Community. ICFAI Journal of Entrepreneurship Development, 3 (1), 20-29.

Lichtenstein, G. A., Lyons, T.S., & Kutzhanova, N. (2004). Building Entrepreneurial Communities: The Appropriate Role of Enterprise Development Activities. Journal of the Community Development Society, 35(1), 1-20.

Lyons, T.S. (2002). Building Social Capital for Rural Enterprise Development: Three Case Studies in the United States. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 7(2), 193-216.

Donald, C. G., Lyons, T.S., & Tribbey, R. C. (2001). A Partnership for Strategic Planning and Management in a Public Organization. Public Productivity & Management Review, 25(2), 176-193. 5

Lyons, T.S., & Segedy, J. A. (2001). Planning the Indianapolis Region: Urban Resurgence, DeFacto Regionalism and UniGov. Planning Practice and Research, 16(3), 293-305.

Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T.S. (2001). The Entrepreneurial Development System: Developing Business Talent and Transforming Community Economies. Economic Development Quarterly, 15(1), 3-20.

Durr, M., & Lyons, T.S. (2000). Identifying the Unique Needs of Urban Entrepreneurs. Race and Society, 3, 75-90.

Meyer, P., & Lyons, T.S. (2000). Lessons from Private Sector Brownfield Redevelopers: Planning Public Support for Urban Regeneration. Journal of the American Planning Association, 66(1), 46-57.

Durr, M., Lyons, T.S., & Cornwell, K. K. (2000). Social Cost and Enterprise Development within Inner City African-American Communities. National Journal of Sociology, 12(1), 57-77.

Lyons, T.S., & Rauhe, W. J. (2000). Towards Creating a Model for Empowering Citizens to Sustain Community Planning and Development Efforts: The Case of Menominee, Michigan. DesignNet Electronic Journal (a peer reviewed electronic journal), 1.

Lyons, T.S., Lichtenstein, G. A., & Chhatre, S. (1999). Assessing the Efficacy of Rural Business Incubation: A Diagnostic Approach from the United States. Journal of Rural Development, 18(1), 29-49.

Hamlin, R. E., Lyons, T.S., & Lee, J-H. (1996). Kyongso, South Korea: New Town at the Heart of East Asian Ecumenopolis. Economic Development Abroad, 10(5), 1-2, 47-8.

Weinberg, M., Lyons, T.S., & Shook, M. L. (1995). State Government Support of Business Incubators: A Survey of Current Efforts in Entrepreneurial Development. Economic Development Commentary, 19(1), 17-21.

Zinn, F. D., Lyons, T.S., & Hinojosa, R. C. (1993). Bringing a Global Approach to Education: The Case of Urban Planning. Environment and Planning B, 20(5), 557-565.

Hinojosa, R. C., Lyons, T.S., & Zinn, F. D. (1993). Reply to a Comment on 'The Relevancy of North American Planning Education for Overseas Practice: A Survey of Graduates. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 12(3), 181-183.

Julian, D. A., & Lyons, T.S. (1992). A Strategic Planning Model for Human Services Problem Solving at the Local Level. Evaluation and Program Planning, 15(3): 247-254.

Hinojosa, R. C., Lyons, T.S., & Zinn, F. D. (1992). The Relevancy of North American Planning Education for Overseas Practice: A Survey of Graduates. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 12(1), 32-38.

Lyons, T.S., & Lyons, J. S. (1990). Housing for the Homeless. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 41(4), 456.

Professional Activities

Academy of Management, Member. (2014-March, 2017).

Community Development Society (CDS) International. An organization of scholars and practitioners in the field of community development. Member. (2011-Present); Member of International Committee (2013-2014).

United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Member. (2007-Present).

International Business Innovation Association, Member of Research Committee (1990) and Member (1990-2016).

Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association, Awards Committee Chairman. (2004 - 2006).

Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association, Member of Professional Development

Committee. (2002 - 2006).

Small Town & Rural Division of the American Planning Association, Secretary. (1996 - 2004).