accionWhen we typically think of microfinance, we think of it in the context of alleviating poverty in the developing world.  But microfinance is also hard at work here in the U.S!  Four member organizations of the Accion U.S. Network conducted the U.S. Microfinance: Small Loans, Big Results study in partnership with California microlender Opportunity Fund.  Nearly 500 businesses participated in the study, painting a vivid picture of local microloan outcomes on a national scale.  By providing microloans averaging $10,000, leading microlenders Accion and the Opportunity Fund are significantly contributing to small business sustainability, as well as increases in income and job creation.  The study highlights U.S. microloan recipients as key engines for job creation, with over 54 percent of survey respondents reporting having employees, 5.6 on average.

Some additional key findings from the study include:

  • Of the small businesses financed in 2010, 97 percent reported they were still in business in 2011.
  • 32 percent of small business owners surveyed reported an increase in owner’s draw and 36 percent indicated an increase in overall business revenue.
  • 43 percent of borrowers surveyed reported seeking a loan to grow their business, and nearly 70 percent reported that their businesses were full-time endeavors

Small business owners are key players in community change and collectively, they have the power to spark significant economic growth, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

About Katherine Rodota

Katherine is a recent graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she studied International Business and French. She is currently working at a private equity firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. Katherine loves to travel, and recently spent her summer volunteering in Mauritius.