Innovations in Microbusiness: Enhancing the Financial Security of Low-Income Entrepreneurs

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED)

Author +
Katherine Lucas McKay

Year: 2014

CFED spent the past year in partnership with several microbusiness development organizations that are pioneering innovative approaches to delivering education, services and products to financially vulnerable entrepreneurs. We documented emerging programs and identified barriers and opportunities that the individual organizations faced in growing these new approaches. We convened our partners to learn from each other about new models of practice, including the implementation of procedures that significantly changed an organization’s relationship with its staff and with its clients. Finally, we convened and consulted with leading practitioners, researchers, advocates and funders in the microbusiness field, bringing them together with our partners to identify scale strategies for growing innovative programming from single organization practices to field-wide standards.

This report offers an overview of the emerging models of practice, including lessons learned from our partners and similar efforts by other organizations. We offer analysis of the scalability of these practices and their capacity to reach many more financially vulnerable entrepreneurs with the products and services they need most. We recommend actions that practitioners, funders and policymakers can take to support the growth of these models of practice. Finally, we identify areas of practice where more innovation is needed to ensure that low- and moderate-income (LMI) microbusiness owners have access to the resources that effectively contribute to improvements in financial security.

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