DEFINITION of 'Microenterprise'

A small business that employs a small number of employees. A microenterprise will usually operate with fewer than 10 people and is started with a small amount of capital. Most microenterprises specialize in providing goods or services for their local areas.

BREAKING DOWN 'Microenterprise'

Microenterprises serve a vital purpose in improving the quality of life for people in developing countries. Microfinance seeks to help microenterprises by loaning small amounts of capital to these businesses. This allows poor individuals or families to start their own businesses, earn income and benefit their communities.

For example, a woman in a developing country may use microcredit to take out a loan and purchase a sewing machine. She could use the machine to establish a microenterprise that specializes in tailoring. The woman would increase her wealth and help her community by providing a service.

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