What is a Microenterprise?
A “microenterprise” or “micro business” is commonly defined as a business with fewer than five employees and with capital needs of under $35,000. Many micro businesses are home-based, some are part-time, some are started by dislocated workers, some provide an opportunity for low-income households to become more self-sufficient.
Micro businesses are at the leading edge of the enterprise formation process and are found everywhere: rural, urban, suburban. Many of the entrepreneurs served by microenterprise development programs have little wealth and have limited access to economic resources.
Client Spotlight: MicroMentor clients, Noel Javier & Brooks Fuentes
Oh Buggy!, Portland, Oregon
Unbeknownst to the other, Noel Javier headed west from Louisville, Kentucky and Brooks Fuentes headed north from Mexico City by way of Atlanta, Georgia to independently arrive in Portland, Oregon. Upon meeting, they found that their artistic interests aligned, and they decided to start a company that would combine their creative energies and incorporate their values. Thus began Oh Buggy!, an all-organic, sweatshop- free clothing design company.
A local Portland design boutique recommended that Noel and Brooks join MicroMentor, and they promptly signed up to find a mentor to help them navigate the challenges of starting a new company. The first MicroMentor mentor to respond to their inquiry was a husband and wife team also based in Portland, Oregon. Their mentor team had complimentary skills and experiences, and they were able to work with Noel and Brooks on a variety of the essential tasks that starting a successful new business required. “It was really neat to work with a duo, because one was great at networking and vetting ideas while the other worked with us from the finance perspective”.
Noel and Brooks’ mentors helped them to research the market for their designs and make useful industry contacts. Their mentors also helped to point them in the direction of necessary small business training. Now, several months later, Noel and Brooks’ business is up and running, and they speak optimistically about the future of their endeavor. They are quick to credit MicroMentor for having connected them with the local business resources and industry-specific business expertise that they needed to get their business off to a great start.