Publication Date



This paper proposes that building assets—be they human, financial, or social—plays a fundamental role on the development of microenterprise, that is, very small businesses owned by people of modest means. This new view expands beyond the current focus on training and loans to include savings services and networks of social capital. This is useful because most new ventures depend more on savings than on loans and because social networks are key—if invisible—business assets that people of modest means often lack. The outputs of microenterprise-support programs and the intermediate and final outcomes of self-employment can also be seen (and measured) in terms of asset building.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building

Original Citation

Schreiner, M. (2004). Support for microenterprise as asset-building: Concepts, good practices, and measurement (CSD Working Paper No. 04-06). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


American Dream Policy Demonstration (ADD)


microenterprise, assets, conceptualization, theory, ADD, American Dream Demonstration