Microenterprise in the U.S.
From its beginning in 1993 as the Self-Employment Learning Project, FIELD has played a pre-eminent role in researching and documenting the microenterprise field in the United States. Its research has examined the growth and development of microenterprise organizations, the characteristics of the clients reached, the outcomes experienced by program clients, and the challenges faced by the field as it seeks to expand and adjust to changing market conditions.
To reflect on the field's accomplishments and suggest ways to strengthen the industry going forward, in 2005 FIELD produced Opening Opportunities, Building Ownership: Fulfilling the Promise of Microenterprise in the United States.
Importantly, the publication recommended eight directions that could help transform the field and position it for long-term growth and stability. For each direction, FIELD compiled a collection of continuously expanding resources to help inform and guide practitioners. (These resources also can be accessed from the Best Practice Resources page.)
For quick insight into the state and scope of microenterprise development in the U.S., visit the Stats and Stories section of FIELD's Web site.
For an easy-to-read series addressing different topics fundamental to microenterprise, see our Microenterprise Fact Sheets, Issues 1-6 (Fall 2000). Visitors interested in the microenterprise industry's history and early accomplishments should see FIELD's early research under the Self-Employment Learning Project, which produced, among other products:
Microenterprise and the Poor: Findings
from the Self-Employment Learning Project Five Year Survey of
Download Executive Summary
Documents the experiences of 133 individuals who attempted to escape poverty through entrepreneurship. Results from the Self-Employment Learning Project are presented describing the outcomes of poor entrepreneurs and their businesses over a five-year period.