Microenterprise Development in the United States: Current Challenges and New Directions
U.S. microenterprise programs provide business training, small amounts of credit ($35,000 or less), or both to businesses with five or fewer employees. As the microenterprise field nears the end of its second decade in the United States, experts and practitioners agree that the field is in a difficult place; there appears to be relatively widespread agreement on the nature of the problems, which include a lack of standardized data, decreasing funding from some key sectors, increased competition, and difficulty in reaching the target market. The author argues that if the microenterprise field does not make some significant changes, it will neither sustain itself nor approach its potential. Strategies to address these challenges fall into three broad categories: restructuring, innovation, and accreditation and standardization.