Download our 2014 CAMEO Brochure to learn more about us and Micro Enterprise in California.

Micro-businesses are the Country’s Backbone

Very small businesses create the jobs. Period. Firms with one to four employees, known as micro-businesses, are stronger than other sized businesses when it comes to job creation. We recently crunched some numbers from the Small Business Administration

  • From 2004 to 2012, U.S. micro-businesses created a net of 7 million jobs, while the largest businesses lost 3/4 million (774,410 to be exact) jobs during the same period.
  • Very small businesses created jobs every year and mostly created more jobs than any other firm size.
  • During 2009 and 2010, micro-businesses were the only firm size that created jobs.

Self-employment is a labor market trend

Our labor force is undergoing a clear, structural shift to independent work.

  • The growing headcount of Americans working more than half-time as individual self-employed contributors reached 17.9 million, up 12.5% from the base year of 2011, generating nearly $1.1 trillion in total income — and growing substantially more than the 1.1% annual growth of the labor force.
  • The independent workforce is expected to grow to 24 million by 2018.
  • In 2012, roughly 1 in 4 independents hired other independents, spending $92 billion and employing the equivalent of 2.2 million full-time workers via contract hiring.

(State of Independence in America report 2014)

Our members help the self-employed and entrepreneurs create their own jobs as well as jobs for others, help Main Street businesses survive and thrive during difficult economic times, revitalize neighborhoods through business development, and provide infrastructure that strengthens families.

As California’s statewide Micro Enterprise association, CAMEO is the voice for Micro-business in California. We expand resources and build capacity for our member organizations – over 150 lenders, training programs, job creators, agencies and individuals dedicated to furthering Micro-business development in California.

Our video CAMEO Connects illustrates the power of locally-grown small-businesses.

What We Do: Expand Microfinancing and Business Assistance

  • Cultivate new resources and investments to build the capacity of its member organizations so that they can provide local microfinancing, business training and technical assistance.
  • Identify and secure additional sources of capital and grants from financial institutions in support of Micro Enterprise development.
  • Provide information on trends, innovations, and technology to increase capacity to serve more clients and reach new markets.
  • Promotes best practices for Micro Enterprise development providers.

Public Awareness

  • Educate the public and media about the positive economic impacts of Micro Enterprise development in California and throughout the country.
  • Sponsors and participates in conferences and events to help widen educate and influence state and national leaders in government and finance to support Micro Enterprise development.
  • Support other state and local community development organizations whose missions are focused on expansion of entrepreneurship and self-employment.


  • Work in Sacramento and Washington D.C. for additional public policies and investment that support entrepreneurship and self-employment.
  • Sponsor legislation and regulations to remove barriers to the expansion of Micro Enterprise development organizations.

View a map and roster of CAMEO member organizations.

The California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO) is a 501(c)3 non-profit statewide association of micro-business development providers.