Could Social Enterprise Be the Next Growth Sector in the US Economy?

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), the “voice of micro-enterprise development” has released a report revealing the potential power of the micro-enterprise sector within the U.S. economy.
Simply titled “One in Three,” it provides the following incredible statistic: if 1 in 3 micro-enterprises in the U.S. hired 1 employee, “the U.S. economy would reach full employment.”
Here are three more amazing facts from the report:
  • Micro businesses represent more than 80 percent of all businesses in the United States
  • In 2010, more Americans became entrepreneurs than any time in the last 15 years
  • A $5K increase in revenues per micro-business per year would generate more than $20B. That’s less than $500 in additional sales per month per business.
Micro businesses are companies requiring investment somewhere in the range of $35K, and have up to 5 employees and there is no reason why they can’t be social enterprises as well.
The report alludes to this, saying, “we are seeing new services and service delivery models, new operating models with supporting tools, new capitalization strategies as well new entrants engaging with existing non-profits and networks.”
It  gives the following example in Enterprise Virginia, which is ‘creating an innovative and replicable public-private partnership model that seeks to connect underserved communities in the state of Virginia to financial, intellectual, and social capital and ultimately to international trade routes.’
In fact, AEO has partnered with Bankers without Borders™, the volunteer arm of  The Grameen Foundation, to provide pro bono expertise to AEO members.
The partnership called Catalyst will address issues of funding and policy for micro-enterprises as an initiative to support existing, and launch new ME’s. Catalyst will promote the following drivers: Enabling better decision-making and resource allocation, channeling funds to invest in capacity and growth, and scaling services and products that work and developing new ones.
Keep tabs on this group for possible best practices procedures, and a possible funding vehicle that may come out of the initiative.
Just think of the possibility of Social Enterprise becoming the next sector of growth in the US economy!
See Full AEO Report here: AEO \”One In Three\” Full Report

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