Commitment to Action

Unleashing the Power of One in Three

Commitment by

Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Daria Sheehan

In May 2011, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) released a seminal report demonstrating the job creation potential from Main Street micro-businesses. The analysis showed that the US could achieve full employment if just one in three micro-businesses hired a single employee, but that two barriers stand in the way of unleashing this powerful economic force: prohibitively high cost structures and capacity constraints. Costs and capacity constraints prevent commercial banks, community development financial institutions, and others from making the right mix of capital and services available and accessible to most Main Street businesses. Building on the momentum of the report and its recommendations, AEO committed to a three-pronged strategy that integrates technology, partnerships, investments, and communications to reach at least one million presently underserved business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs by: 1)Organizing and coordinating an alliance and public will-building campaign; 2) Innovating to extend the reach and reduce the costs of promising services and products by piloting new business models and product innovations; and 3)Capitalizing a fund that combines carefully structured performance-based grants, low-cost loan capital, and capital to invest in pilots of product and service innovations.





Unleashing the Power of One in Three



Est. Duration

6 years

Estimated Total Value



Northern America


United States

Commitment by

Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Daria Sheehan

Partner(s) of the Commitment Maker(s)

Citi Foundation, Walmart, American Dream Fund, Oregon Microenterprise Network (OMEN), Sam's Club, Grameen Foundation, On Deck Capital, Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence, Mercy Corps, Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, Inc.