The Microenterprise Education Initiative (MEI) aims to become a worldwide thought leader through research, classes, competitions, and more.
What are Microenterprises?
Microenterprises are the small businesses that are prevalent throughout the developing world due to necessity enterprise. Where jobs are scarce, even for those with a degree, many have had to survive by starting their own businesses (microenterprises).
Microenterprise Education Initiative (MEI)
MEI, led by Ballard Fellow Jeremi Brewer, researched and collected worldwide best practices in teaching entrepreneurs to start and grow their own microbusinesses. Throughout his two-year research program with the Ballard Center some key activities were:
- Compiling and editing the book Necessity Entrepreneurs: Microenterprise Education and Economic Development. The book demonstrated that “an estimated one billion individuals in both developed and developing nations can be defined as necessity entrepreneurs; individuals who have no other viable option for licit income than to start a small, income-generating activity. However, unless these ‘necessity entrepreneurs’ have access to meaningful education, they will never realize the powerful economic potential to impact the economic development of their respective nations.”
- Development of an online coaching program for necessity entrepreneurs. Student participants were passionate about the education they received and the lessons they were able to share with necessity entrepreneurs.
- Finalizing research and plans for a new educational venture called Elevate Global, a business education center which offers courses in microentrepreneurship and English as a second language.
Many organizations are currently teaching microenterprise education. Some of their resources include:
- Where There Are No Jobs, a handbook for microenterprise educators
- Peace Corps Microenterprise Education
- Food and Agriculture Organization
- Community Empowerment Collective
We currently have the following internships opportunities with organizations that participate in microenterprise education:
- Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE) Internships
- Elevate Global
- Self-Reliance/Perpetual Education Fund