Micro-Enterprise in the United States
Twenty million of the twenty-two million small business owners in the United States operate micro-enterprises businesses so small they usually employ a single person. Micro-enterprise programs, which emerged in the mid-1980s to support such ventures, now number five hundred nationwide and provide training, technical assistance, and small loans to low-income individuals. Opening Opportunities, Building Ownership: Fulfilling the Promise of Microenterprise in the United States (140 pages, PDF), published by the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination at the Aspen Institute, reflects on the industry's past accomplishments, examines its current weaknesses, and describes the future potential for the growth and sustainability of micro-enterprise programs in the U.S. The report was funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.