Micro Enterprise Research and Policy

The Aspen Institute and the Corporation for Enterprise Development were the catalyst for the Micro Enterprise industry and the FIELD division of the Aspen Institute has served as the research arm. We’ve culled FIELD’s research and posted the more current and relevant reports on a special FIELD page.


  • SBA Veterans Assistance ProgramsApril 8, 2014

    Robert Jay Dilger and Sean Lowry of the Congressional Research Service examine the current state of SBA veteran loan programs, and consider whether, as some members of Congress have suggested, combining the program with other services would increase government efficiency.

    Anil Rupasingha, PhD Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
    Local entrepreneurship matters for local economic performance and smaller local businesses are more important than larger local businesses for local economic performance.

  • How Much Does Credit Matter?August 28, 2013

    Cesare Fracassi and Shimon Kogan, UT Austin; Mark Garmaise, UCLA Anderson; Gabriel Natividad, NYU Stern
    A team of researchers digs into five years worth of lending data from Accion Texas and reports that startup small businesses that receive a microloan are dramatically more ...

  • Immigrant Entrepreneurs, Capital AccessJuly 3, 2013

    Robert Fairlie of the Small Business Administration looks at how immigrant-owned businesses shape the economy.

  • Partnerships You Can Bank OnJune 27, 2013

    This report for the CFED looks at the Bank On programs that first emerged in San Francisco and have since moved piecemeal across the country.

  • ‘Shop Local’ Studies from ILSRJune 1, 2013

    ILSR’s annual survey has found that independent businesses experienced solid revenue growth in 2012, buoyed in part by “buy local first” initiatives.

  • The Civic Economics of RetailJanuary 1, 2013

    A solid review of several foundational studies on the costs and benefits to cities of locally-owned businesses versus larger chain stores from Civic Economics.

  • Open for BusinessAugust 23, 2012

    Robert Fairlie, writing for the Partnership for a New American Economy, looks at how immigrant-owned small and micro-businesses are driving job creation and growth in the United States.

  • White House Small Business ReportMay 24, 2012

    President Obama’s plan for supporting small and micro-businesses as they create jobs and drive innovation.

  • BoA: Small Business ReportMay 23, 2012

    Bank of America reports on small and micro-business owners, operators and entrepreneurs.

  • The State of Business DevelopmentMay 1, 2012

    FIELD has released their findings from last year’s microenterprise Census, and so we take a look back at their 2012 report discussing business development services in the sector.

  • Regional Food Hub Resource GuideApril 23, 2012

    The USDA guide for food entrepreneurs and their supporters interested in starting or expanding food hubs.

  • Declining Size of EstablishmentsMarch 16, 2012

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics examines the trend of businesses growing smaller, not larger, over the last two decades.

  • Veteran-owned BusinessesMarch 15, 2012

    The SBA’s office of advocacy reports on veteran-owned businesses and micro-businesses and entrepreneurship within the veteran community.

  • Empowering Entrepreneurs At Tax TimeFebruary 13, 2012

    A report from the Center for Enterprise Development on tax preparation and small business.

  • Falling Behind: Women and the RecessionFebruary 12, 2012

    A report from the California Budget Project on the effect of the Great Recession on Californian women.

  • Healthcare Exchanges & Small BusinessFebruary 11, 2012

    A three-part forum from the Small Business Majority on how to best implement the Small Business Health Options Program Exchange.

  • Start-Ups are Key to Job CreationJanuary 13, 2012

    Martin A. Sullivan responds to a New York Times article about where new jobs come from in the United States; it isn’t where most people think.

  • Entrepreneurship at a Glance: 2011December 17, 2011

    The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development looks at key indicators on international entrepreneurship.

  • Money for SomethingDecember 15, 2011

    Many states offer subsidies to businesses operating within their borders, but many programs do not require any job creation, or mandate a minimum level of job quality to receive the subsidy. Good Jobs First reports.

    The Public Policy Institute of California looks at how the Great Recession affected income distribution in the state.

  • The State of Small BusinessNovember 13, 2011

    Pepperdine Business School reports on small business in the state of California. (Spoilers: They’re in favor.)

  • Small Business during a RecoveryNovember 10, 2011

    Research presented during the Federal Reserve conference on Small Business amid a recovering economy.

  • With a Stroke of a PenNovember 6, 2011

    24 low-cost, politically viable state policy ideas from the Corporation for Enterprise Development to increase financial security and opportunity in tough fiscal times.

  • Overcoming the Gender GapSeptember 13, 2011

    Despite recent gains, women still lag behind men on key measures of start-up activity, and their firms tend not to grow or prosper as much. The Kauffman Foundation reports on how we can better tap into this under-utilized economic resource.

    The most recent in Advocacy’s periodic series of reports on businesses owned by women and men.

  • Jobs, Infrastructure & the WorkforceSeptember 11, 2011

    California, and the nation as a whole, still can seize economic opportunities, but only if both overcome these multiplying sets of challenges – challenges made even tougher by the ongoing economic downturn and lingering effects from the “Great Recession.”

    Substantial differences exists among U.S. small businesses owners; Erik Hurst and Benjamin Wild Pugsley show few small businesses intend to bring a new idea to market.

  • Economic Growth Agenda for CaliforniaAugust 16, 2011

    How California can retake control and drive forward again, moving California back into the lead on sustainable growth and real job creation—regaining our leadership role as America’s opportunity capital.

  • Unauthorized Immigrants in CaliforniaJuly 17, 2011

    Unauthorized immigrants have been a part of many California industries and communities for decades, but recent and comprehensive information about the numbers and location of this population within California—at the county and sub-county level—does not exist.

    This report will increase our understanding of challenges CDFIs face at different points in their development.

  • WIA: How is Federal Funding Spent?May 19, 2011

    Hundreds of millions of dollars are allocated annually to California through the federal Workforce Investment Act, and most local Workforce Investment Boards report spending far less on job training than on employment services at One-Stop Career Centers.

    This report examines the six largest banks in California to evaluate the extent to which bank products and services are accessible to California’s under-served communities.

  • A Newly Crowded MarketplaceMarch 18, 2011

    It is important to understand what this changing marketplace might hold. What are the implications of this new landscape of providers for microentrepreneurs and the nonprofit microlending industry?

  • The State of Women-Owned BusinessesMarch 17, 2011

    Using data from the three most recent business census surveys, the most recent just published in December 2010, this report provides estimates of the number, employment and revenues of women-owned firms as of 2011.

  • DHF: Micro-Lending Pilot ProgramFebruary 19, 2011

    The Dolores Huerta Foundation set out to launch a micro-lending pilot program, building capacity by researching small business curricula and micro-enterprise development models. Additionally, site visits were made to glean best practices and observe successful micro-lending operations.

    Properly designed, industry clusters are a low-cost way to stimulate innovation, new-firm start-ups, and job creation by helping to link and align the many factors that influence firm and regional growth.

  • Job Creation through EntrepreneurshipOctober 19, 2010

    Is microenterprise development an effective job creation strategy during a recession? Key findings on women who entered employment, self-employment, providing jobs for others, job retention and creation, and full-time jobs.

  • The Intuit 2020 ReportOctober 18, 2010

    With a new decade upon us, a range of demographic, economic, social, and technological shifts are changing the way we live and operate around the world. The Intuit 2020 report looks at the significant trends and forces that are affecting consumers and small businesses, and ...

  • Business Relocation & Homegrown JobsSeptember 19, 2010

    Relocation accounts for a smaller share of job gains and losses in California than in most other states, in part because most California businesses lie far from the border of neighboring states.

  • Start-ups: Job Creation, Job DestructionJuly 19, 2010

    Without start-ups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy. This fact is true on average, but also is true for all but seven years for which the United States has data going back to 1977.

    A Senate Office of Research report concerning the microenterprise sector in California, the number of microenterprises in California, the number of persons employed and jobs created by them, share of workforce in urban and rural counties, and changes in state/federal tax revenues due to the ...

  • California Jobs Report 2010February 20, 2010

    USDA Rural Development hosted forty-three forums across California and connected with almost 900 Californians from all reaches of the state, who  voiced their issues and shared their ideas for stimulating their local economies and creating jobs.

    This Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report seeks to understand global differences in the frequency and nature of women’s entrepreneurship, and makes comparisons with men across various societies.

  • Growing America Through EntrepreneurshipDecember 20, 2009

    This IMPAQ evaluation of Project GATE addresses the following questions:

    Could Project GATE be replicated?
    Was Project GATE effective in increasing business ownership, employment, and self-sufficiency?

  • Latina Entrepreneur SBEDecember 19, 2009

    This paper compares earnings of Latina entrepreneurs to both Latina wage/salary workers and to self-employed female non-Hispanic whites. Latina entrepreneurs are observed to have lower mean earnings than both white female entrepreneurs and Latina employees. However, our findings indicate that Latina entrepreneurs often do well, ...

  • Latina Entrepreneurship TrendsAugust 20, 2009

    Latinos play an important role in the self-employment growth. Fueled by immigration, they are the largest and fastest growing minority group in the US. With high employment rates and a lack of labor market success, what are alternative policies to improve economic outcomes?

    In this Public Policy Institute of California report, the authors assess the degree to which the state’s largest economic development program has met its most important goal: creating employment.

  • Tiny Business Creates Large ChangeJanuary 20, 2009

    The real heart of job growth in the small business community is businesses with fewer than five employees. Addressing the needs of this segment can generate profound positive economic and social consequences.

  • Mexican-American Self-EmploymentJanuary 19, 2009

    This paper analyzes causes of the low self-employment rate among Mexican-Americans by studying self-employment entry and exits. Importantly, the authors analyze self-employment by recognizing heterogeneity in business ownership across industries and show that a classification of firms by human and financial capital “intensiveness”, or entry ...

  • Minority Women Businesses Growing FastNovember 20, 2008

    The Center for Women’s Business Research found that businesses owned by African American, Asian, and Hispanic women business owners substantially outpace all U.S. firms in the growth of revenues and number of employees.

  • More Employers, More Jobs, More MoneyDecember 20, 2007

    This study analyzes the relationship between local economic development policy and economic growth in a data set of 412 U.S. cities. Local government leaders in the U.S. employ a multitude of programs and policies in the name of economic development. The past few decades have ...

  • Latino Self-Employment EntrySeptember 20, 2007

    This article examines causes of the low self-employment rates among Mexican-Hispanics by studying self-employment entry. The data show that Mexican-Hispanics are less likely to be self-employed or enter self-employment, relative to non-Hispanic whites. Also, the lower self-employment entry rates among Mexican-Hispanics are due to lower ...

  • Self-Employment Assistance ProgramsJune 20, 2001

    DTI Associates (June 2001) This report on Self-Employment Assistance Programs catalogs the eight state programs that were established between 1995 and 1999 and presents participant outcomes that were collected through a survey of former participants. In addition to cataloging the details of program operation in ...