A microenterprise, or microbusiness, is a very small business that generates income for an individual or a family. Microenterprises can be operated by as few as one or two people.
Some microenterprises are so small that their owners do not realize that they have a business; however, any small-scale production or service activity that produces income regularly can be described as a microenterprise.
Despite their small size, microenterprises have a significant impact on the global economy. In some countries, the majority of the population earns at least some income through a microenterprise. As such, microenterprises hold great potential for generating income and creating jobs. Families can support themselves or earn supplemental income through a microenterprise. Of its potential to enhance success, Bishop H. David Burton said that “microenterprise turns ingenuity into prosperity.” Microenterprises provide a way for individuals to use their skills to earn income for their families.
Some organizations, such as microfinance institutions, specialize in providing services to microenterprises and their owners to help them succeed. Organizations may offer training on general business topics, such as business-plan development, bookkeeping, and marketing, or they may provide personal mentoring services to share experience and expertise. Microfinance institutions often offer microcredit loans that provide financial opportunities for microenterprise growth. These loans are given to those who do not qualify for a loan from a traditional financial institution. In addition, governments may provide special services to help microenterprises succeed.