Office of Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion

USAID/Egypt-supported micro-finance institutions have extended millions of loans to entrepreneurs since 1997.
USAID/Egypt-supported micro-finance institutions have extended millions of loans to entrepreneurs since 1997. More than 65 percent of current active borrowers are female heads of households operating small enterprises like the vegetable stand above.


  • USAID helps provide the poor in developing countries with improved access to credit services needed to start or grow their businesses, and a safe place to keep their savings.  In FY 2011, USAID microenterprise development programs provided financial services to more than 1.4 million borrowers and almost 2.0 million savers. More than 60 percent of these beneficiaries were women.
  • USAID helps connect micro and small enterprises and small holder farmers to technology and markets to improve their crop productivity and income.  For example, in Kenya, USAID’s work with 370,000 smallholder farmers nearly quadrupled maize production and significantly increased incomes.
  • USAID supports the development of mobile money services to help reduce the cost of banking and increase savings.  In the Philippines, a USAID effort to help rural banks offer a range of financial services led to the registration of 390,000 mobile banking clients between 2004 and 2012.  As of December 2012, 77 participating local banks processed more than 3.0 million mobile banking transactions valued at more than $4.0 million.
  • USAID support for skills and capacity building programs have enabled tens of thousands of entrepreneurs around the world to start and grow enterprises.  In Pakistan, more than 70,000 women micro-entrepreneurs were trained in financial literacy and another 19,000 micro-entrepreneurs (dairy farmers, medicinal and aromatic plant collectors and garment embellishers) were trained in better production practices. 
  • USAID promotes private sector engagement as a way to increase the investment and skills transfer which drives growth and job creation in our presence countries.  Building upon the successful Enterprise Fund experience in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, which leveraged $5 billion in private capital investment and created or sustained more than 260,000 jobs, USAID has developed new and innovative ways for partnering with commercial (for-profit) enterprises to leverage USAID funding and help ensure the sustainability of our development efforts. 

USAID Strategy and Program Focus

USAID Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion programs focus on expanding access to finance, markets and resources for people and businesses in developing countries, strengthening their ability to compete in an increasingly globalized economy.  To do so, USAID supports:

  • The provision of financial and business development services to low-income people, micro-entrepreneurs, and owners of small and medium enterprises, including the provision of financial services using mobile technologies
  • Efforts to help micro, small and medium businesses and smallholder farmers connect to market opportunities using a value change approach aimed at improving production and efficiency
  • Private sector engagement, by supporting commercial enterprises that can make, service, process or distribute goods and services critical to achieving development outcomes
  • The adoption of laws, policies, regulations and practices that expand access to financial services for the poor and improve the business environment for micro, small and medium enterprises
  • Skills and capacity building assistance to promising entrepreneurs and rapidly-growing enterprises.  This assistance includes training to build financial literacy and business acumen and efforts to improve access to markets, information and business networks

In FY 2011, USAID provided $286 million in microenterprise assistance in 50 countries.

Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3)’s Role 

E3’s Office of Microenterprise and Private Sector Promotion (MPEP) provides technical leadership and support to USAID’s field missions in the design, implementation and evaluation of microenterprise development, small and medium enterprise development, entrepreneurship and private sector engagement programs.  The Office consists of two divisions:

  • The Microenterprise Development Division
  • The Private Enterprise Promotion Division

MPEP supports a number of centrally funded programs as well as initiatives to pilot test cutting edge technologies and cross-sector linkages.  The Office supports USAID’s microenterprise knowledge management program and website, microlinks, which connects practitioners with each other and sources the latest learning in microenterprise development.  In December 2012, MPEP sponsored an Evidence Summit, “From Microfinance to Inclusive Market Development,” drawing in academic and practitioner expertise to review the evidence on strategies to promote inclusive market development; identify gaps in what we know; and reflect on implications of evidence for USAID’s programming going forward.  Finally, the Office is responsible for preparing an annual report to Congress on USAID’s microenterprise activities.

E3’s Partners 

The Microenterprise and Private Enterprise Promotion Office closely collaborates with the Bureau for Food Security, Office of Development Credit, Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and our regional bureau partners to work towards integrated programming to achieve optimal impact for our beneficiaries.

We also collaborate with a variety of private sector, international donor agencies, and NGO stakeholders including organizations focused on assisting the poor such as CGAP and SEEP.

For More Information 

Last updated: November 09, 2015

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