Micro-enterprise is a concept that has been around for decades. In fact, we have micro-enterprises in the United States. These are simply businesses with fewer than 10 employees. As referenced in this article, the vast majority of businesses in the United States are micro-businesses.
The idea was originally pioneered by Muhammad Yunus, who is the founder of Grameen Bank, which is a bank for the poor. The concept brought Muhammed Yunus a Nobel Prize in 1976. He established Grameen Bank in Bangladesh to offer small loans or “micro-loans” so people, primarily women, could create their own businesses. In other words, he wanted to give people an opportunity to create their own economic sustainability. Today, Grameen is helping millions of women in developing nations around the world to develop their own micro-enterprises with micro-loans.
What is a micro-enterprise?
As mentioned, a micro-enterprise, also called micro-business, has a small number of employees. Very often micro-enterprises have only one or two employees. If they are a little larger and more successful, they may have additional staff which can be family and friends.
Micro-enterprises also begin with minimal capital investment. In the United States, we often refer to it as operating on a “shoe-string budget.”
What does micro-enterprise in a developing nation do?
In countries such as Haiti, Guatemala or Colombia, micro-enterprises are the backbone of the economy. Poverty prevents many from obtaining a quality education. Unfortunately, without a good education or training, many find that they don’t have the necessary skills and experience to qualify for the few work opportunities available. Still, they have to provide for their families.
Many people turn to micro-enterprise. With limited jobs, workers are often compelled to create their own economic path. They begin their own micro-enterprises selling products and services needed in their local communities. Products sold can include basic mobile phones, chargers, groceries, clothing and accessories, and small electronics.
Ultimately micro-enterprise adds value to the local economy in a number of ways:
How you can make a social impact today.
Gear the World works with micro-entrepreneurs around the world by providing them with the necessary inventory they need to sell in their local communities. We partner with companies who seek to donate gifts-in-kind and money to micro-entrepreneurs around the world. Product donations can make an incredible difference in communities throughout the United States and in developing nations. What’s more, customers and the public like to do business with companies that are effective at corporate social responsibility.
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