What is Micro Enterprise?

Micro enterprises or micro-businesses are everywhere in California – the organic tomato farmer at the Saturday market, the childcare center at work, the technology service firm who fixes your computer when it crashes, your favorite neighborhood restaurant, or the new sophisticated ice cream truck.

A micro-business is a firm with five or fewer employees, started for $50,000 or less in initial capital and that may not have access to traditional commercial loans. Micro Enterprises start small, but can grow quickly into large job-generating businesses.  In fact, 85% of all businesses in the U.S. are micro!  These very small firms generate close to 25% of all jobs in our economy.

  • 4.2 million Californians are employed by micro-businesses in 2007 (latest census).
  • 3 million micro-businesses are sole proprietors.

Micro Enterprise development organizations provide comprehensive services to help entrepreneurs start and grow micro-businesses. These services include business planning, management training, market research, networking, business incubation, and loan packaging as well as financing of microloans.

Micro-business development has been growing for the past 25 years in the U.S. as a means to change economically distressed communities by supporting the start up and growth of new businesses, jobs and revenues. In the U.S., the field has gone way beyond noble efforts to boost entrepreneurship in traditionally poor, developing countries.