Micro Capital Task Force: Moving Money to Main Street


The American dream is out of reach for millions of Main Street business owners who are not able to access capital or support on the path to capital for their businesses. Hard work alone will not solve the problem given the current path of financial institutions and other market players, even with strong support from a range of community-based institutions. Solving this problem requires the emergence of a new financial system for Main Street.

Recognizing this massive market failure, AEO formed a private multi-stakeholder task force to present fact-based and practical recommendations to the White House, the Department of Treasury and the Congress regarding access to capital in amounts of up to $250,000 for the smallest businesses. In parallel, AEO commissioned Ira Lieberman, one of the pioneers in scaling microfinance internationally, to draft a strategic plan to scale Main Street microfinance in the United States.

Click here to visit the Micro Capital Task Force website.

Micro Capital Task Force Information and Resources

  • Click here for the one-pager from the MCTF Congressional Briefing including policy recommendations.
  • Click here for an overview of the MCTF and highlights from our multi-stakeholder survey.
  • Click here for the MCTF draft concept note and framework.
  • Review the participant list and discussion document from the April 30, 2014, MCTF stakeholder call.
  • Review the participant list and discussion document from the April 24, 2014, call for the Working Group to Ensure Inclusion of Underserved Entrepreneurs.
  • Click here to review the summary of the strategy and recommendations prepared by Ira Lieberman and his team of experts: Keith CatanzanoPaul DiLeoAlana HeathJenifer Mudd, Jose Ruisanchez. Click here to review the full version of the strategy document with supporting materials.
  • Click here to read prior work on U.S. microfinance from Ira Lieberman, Jenifer Mudd and Phil Goodeve.
  • Click here to listen to a virtual multi-stakeholder roundtable on Scale & Sustainability for Mission-Focused Lending.

The Big Green Opportunity


In spite of growing interest in sustainability among consumers and large corporations in the United States, the economic case for action by the smallest of businesses is not well-understood. As a consequence, these businesses are unlikely to capture available opportunities for cost savings, performance improvement and/or growth. As an organization that works hard  every day to help business owners in your community succeed, you know the value of well-designed and resourced programs targeted to sizable opportunities with demonstrated demand. You also know the importance of robust market data to inform program design and make the case for investment of scarce resources.

AEO, Green America and EcoVentures International (EVI), with support from eBay and the UPS Foundation, completed a national survey of business owners and produced a groundbreaking report. The purpose of the survey is to identify and quantify “green” opportunities for the smallest of businesses and to identify barriers to action.

Results from the survey will be invaluable to refine existing programs and to uncover demand for new financing mechanisms, programs and tools to help the smallest of businesses fully capture their green opportunity.

The results are published in the report The Big Green Opportunity for Small Business in the U.S.


One in Three Alliance


In 2011, AEO released The Power of One in Three: Creating Opportunities for All Americans to Bounce Back report, which stated that if one in three Main Street microbusinesses hired just one employee, the country would reach full employment. Building on the report, AEO then launched the One in Three Campaign — a national campaign to expand the lens with which the nation views microbusinesses for job creation and value to our country’s economy. 

Click here to visit the One in Three website.