Microenterprise Education

The Microenterprise Education Initiative (MEI) aims to become a worldwide thought leader through research, classes, competitions, and more.

What are Microenterprises?

Microenterprises are the small businesses that are prevalent throughout the developing world due to necessity enterprise. Where jobs are scarce, even for those with a degree, many have had to survive by starting their own businesses such as becoming a street vendor, tailor, independent mechanic, etc.

Microenterprise Education Initiative (MEI)

MEI, led by Ballard Fellow Jeremi Brewer, researched and collected worldwide best practices in teaching entrepreneurs to start and grow their own microbusinesses. Throughout his two-year research program with the Ballard Center some key activities included:

  • Compiling and editing the book Necessity Entrepreneurs: Microenterprise Education and Economic Development. The book demonstrated that “an estimated one billion individuals in both developed and developing nations can be defined as necessity entrepreneurs; individuals who have no other viable option for licit income than to start a small, income-generating activity. However, unless these ‘necessity entrepreneurs’ have access to meaningful education, they will never realize the powerful economic potential to impact the economic development of their respective nations.”
  • Developing an online coaching program for necessity entrepreneurs. 
  • Finalizing research and plans for a new educational venture called Elevate Global, a business education center which offers courses in microentrepreneurship and English as a second language.
Adam Turville
“The Ballard Center helped me to see that microenterprise education is an innovative solution to creating economic self-reliance in developing countries. These and other Ballard Center opportunities can introduce students to new career and education opportunities through incredible networking and interesting work experience.”
— Adam Turville, MEI intern


Many organizations are currently teaching microenterprise education. Some of their resources include:

Get Involved

We currently have the following internships opportunities with organizations that participate in microenterprise education: