Since 1991, AEO has endeavored to create economic opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs. This list highlights AEO’s advocacy accomplishments.
1991 – Association for Enterprise Opportunity is founded by a national group of micro enterprise development organizations
1991 – Drafted and worked to pass the original, five-year pilot Microloan program as part of the FY1992 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Bill
1992 – Microloan program becomes operational and begins providing capital
1993 – Worked with then Congressmen Ron Wyden (D-OR) and then Senator Harris Wofford (D-PA) to pass the Unemployment Insurance/Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) Program
1994 – Supported the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994, which established the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund
1997 – Successfully promoted the expansion and permanent reauthorization of the Microloan program in The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997
1998 – Developed Program For Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME) with support from Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)
1998 – Successfully advocated for the permanent reauthorization of the SEA Program
1999 – Championed the establishment of the PRIME Program in the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act
2001 – PRIME Grants are made available for the first time
2003 – Published Introduction to Starting and Sustaining a Microenterprise Development Program, the first set of standards for the microenterprise development industry
2006 – Organized Congressional testimony from entrepreneurs to demonstrate the Microloan Program’s positive impact on small business growth
2007 – Testified before the House Small Business Committee to oppose the removal of technical assistance grants from the Microloan Program
2008 – Culmination of a multi-year advocacy effort to prevent the elimination of the PRIME Program and Microloan Program from the Administration’s Budget
2008 – Advocated for the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), which was established by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008
2010 – Supported the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which raised the cap on SBA Microloans to $50,000 and established the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.
2010 – RMAP funds are made available for the first time to support entrepreneurship in rural communities
2011 – Released The Power of One in Three, a groundbreaking report on microbusinesses
2012 – Launched “One in Three” Campaign to unleash the job creation potential of one million microbusinesses in the U.S.
2013 – Formed the Micro Capital Task Force 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.
2013 – Published Bigger Than You Think: The Economic Impact of Microbusiness in the United States, documenting AEO’s two-year study to show the impact of microbusinesses and their contributions to the American economy
2014 – Encouraged initial legislation by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) to modernize and expand the Women’s Business Center program
2014 – Promoted entrepreneurship in job training programs as a component of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
2015 – Advocated for implementation of Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act to improve data collection on lending
2015 – Led coalition to increase lending authority for SBA’s 7(a) program
2016 – Supported Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Small Business Committee Chair Steve Chabot’s (R-OH) reauthorization of the Women’s Business Center Program
2016 – Advocated for doubling funding to the PRIME Grant Program for the 2017 fiscal year
2016 – Organized Members of Congress to urge the Department of Labor to include entrepreneurship metrics in final rules implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
2016 – Developed the Microloan Modernization Act of 2016 with Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE)
2017 – Worked with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and ensured that funding came in at, or near, AEO’s FY 2018 funding requests
2017 – Hosted two Small Business Roundtables featuring guest speaker William Manger, associate administrator for the Office of Capital Access at the U.S Small Business Administration
2017– Influenced tax reform legislation to include parity to pass-through small businesses