The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the leading voice of innovation in microfinance and microbusiness in the United States. Since 1991, AEO and its member and partner organizations have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families and their communities. AEO's more than 1,000 members and partners include a broad range of organizations that provide capital and services to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing and expanding their businesses. Together, we are working to change the way capital and services flow to underserved entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs and opportunities for all.
AEO's work focuses on three main areas:
Mission & Vision
AEO’s mission is to create economic opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs by supporting the development of strong and effective initiatives to assist them in starting, stabilizing and expanding businesses.
AEO’s vision is for every individual in the U.S. to have access to resources and services for creating wealth, assets and healthy communities through business ownership.
Strategy & Impact
AEO and its members and partners are helping to build a vibrant microbusiness sector served by a broad range of institutions and sustainable providers of business development and support services.
AEO’s strategy includes three pillars:
Strengthen and restructure the microbusiness field to serve as a robust source of sustainable products and services to an increasing number of underserved entrepreneurs.
Link the needs of a growing microbusiness sector to an ecosystem of market partners for greater economic impact.
Catalyze new solutions and the rapid adoption of standards and innovation by microbusiness development organizations to drive transformation in the field.
AEO has had a significant impact on the microbusiness sector, including:
AEO members have helped more than two million entrepreneurs create jobs for themselves and their communities.
AEO has secured more than $1B+ federal dollars for microbusiness industry participants since 2001 through policy advocacy efforts.
Through AEO-managed programs, member organizations have received $20 million in private funding to improve/expand vital programs and services to underserved entrepreneurs and distressed communities.
- AEO research and initiatives have shaped policy and practice toward opportunity, industry transformation and financial inclusion.