Our February 2014 newsletter includes:
- Building Assets Through Microbusiness, a grantmakers strategy guide from AFN and FIELD at the Aspen Institute for creating asset-building outcomes through the support of business ownership and underserved populations.
- A paper from the Aspen Institute shows how microenterprises, though small, can be a powerful force for creating jobs.
- A report from FIELD and the Citi Foundation, the Asset Building through Credit Pilot, documents a demonstration project that worked with five microenterprise programs to test the delivery of a secured card, combined with credit coaching, as a tool to help aspiring entrepreneurs build their credit and move toward their business goals.
- And of course a letter from Joe Antolin, AFN Executive Director.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
Workforce advocates have correctly pointed to post-secondary education as the most important factor to getting a good job that pays well. A range of game changing asset-building strategies have made advances to achieving that goal. Yet, today, a growing number of graduates are underemployed in jobs that do not require their education and in turn they are squeezing others out of the job market. Thus, the other side of supporting post-secondary education is job creation, especially among communities of color and women.
Job creation requires renewed and robust support for microbusiness (5 or fewer employees). New analysis are shining a light on the vital roles microbusiness plays in creating jobs in America and as a strategic tool for both poverty alleviation and local economic development of good paying jobs. Indeed, with the creation of 41 million jobs, microbusiness contributes to 31% of the private sector employment, according to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s recent study. And with 52% of microbusiness owners not having a college degree, microenterprise also demonstrates its ability to provide financial opportunity and stability to those lacking a higher education.
AFN’s latest brief for funders, Building Assets Through Microbusiness, demonstrates how a philanthropic focus backing programs that support entrepreneurs and providing capital for microbusinesses is key to creating jobs and building a robust economy. As the wealth gap widens and the middle class continues to struggle, funders’ investments become even more crucial to correcting this complex economic challenge. In this brief, AFN shares proven best practices, ideas and roles funders can use to develop effective grantmaking strategies focused on the communities in which they work.
Funders are in a pivotal position to invest and support microenterprise, ultimately helping families and communities shift from getting by to getting ahead. Take a look at Building Assets Through Microbusiness and send us your questions and feedback as AFN continues to evolve this series.
Joseph A. Antolín
Asset Funders Network