New Study Highlights U.S. Small and ‘Micro’ Businesses as Engines for Job Creation

Conducted in Partnership With the Aspen Institute, Accion and Opportunity Fund
Report Highlights National Microbusiness Outcomes

New York, NY, 1st April 2013 – By providing small loans that average just $10,000 in the U.S., leading microlenders Accion and Opportunity Fund are significantly contributing to small business sustainability, as well as increases in income and job creation according to their microTracker lending outcomes study – U.S. Microfinance: Small Loans, Big Results - released today. The study, conducted in partnership with the Aspen Institute, highlights U.S. microloan recipients as key engines for job creation, with over 54 percent of survey respondents reporting having employees. Of those businesses with employees, each reported employing 5.6 individuals on average.

Four member organizations of the Accion U.S. Network, the largest microfinance network in the United States, conducted the survey in partnership with California microlender Opportunity Fund, to create the largest national sample of microloan borrowers in any lending outcomes study to date. Nearly 500 businesses participated in the study, painting a vivid picture of local microloan outcomes on a national scale. Key study findings include:

  • Microloans contribute to strong, sustainable small businesses. Of small businesses financed in 2010, 97 percent reported that they were still in business in 2011.

  • Microloans contribute to increases in small business owner take-home pay and business revenue. 32 percent of small business owners surveyed reported an increase in owner’s draw and 36 percent indicated an increase in overall business revenue.

  • Accion supports small businesses primed for growth and ready to contribute to the local economy. 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,” says Gina Harman, CEO of the Accion U.S. Network. “By investing just $10,000 on average in these individuals and their businesses, Accion is not only supporting economic opportunity for business owners but driving job creation at significant rates.”

“Microlending isn’t about making a loan just to get it paid back. At Opportunity Fund, we make loans in order to help the business owner get ahead. This report answers exactly that question: Was the business better off after receiving a loan?” explains Eric Weaver, CEO of Opportunity Fund. “The results are clear: Opportunity Fund lends to small businesses that are growing, boosting incomes and creating jobs.”

A report detailing the full findings and an infographic are available for download at The study was made possible with generous support from the Sam’s Club Giving Program.


About the Accion U.S. Network

As the largest nationwide micro- and small business lending network in the United States, we connect small business owners with the accessible financing and advice it takes to create or grow healthy businesses. Since 1991, the five members of the Accion U.S. Network have collectively made over 45,000 loans, totaling over $350 million. Additionally, over 400,000 business owners across the nation have turned to Accion for financial and business advice via workshops, online tools, and one-on-one consultations. Globally, Accion ( is a pioneer in microfinance, reaching millions of individuals through its international network of partners. For more information visit

About Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund ( is a not-for-profit social enterprise helping thousands of California families build financial stability. Our strategy combines microloans for small businesses, microsavings accounts, and community real estate financing. Now California's leading microfinance provider, Opportunity Fund began based on the idea that small amounts of money and financial advice could help people make permanent and lasting change to improve their own lives. Since making our first loan in 1995, our team has deployed over $279 million and helped more than 15,000 low-income Californians.

About the Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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