About Microenterprise Development

The Microenterprise Development Program helps refugees develop, expand or maintain their own businesses and become financially independent. To equip refugees with the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs, the program provides training and technical assistance in:

  • Business plan development
  • Management
  • Bookkeeping
  • Marketing

Microenterprise Development services include business technical assistance or short-term training, credit in the form of micro-loans up to a maximum of $15,000. The programs are designed in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate for the refugee population.

Public or private non-profit organizations design Microenterprise Development Programs with an understanding of the characteristics of the local refugee populations:

  • Employment rates
  • Welfare status
  • Length of time in the U.S.
  • Interest in micro-businesses
  • Readiness to start a micro-business
  • English language proficiency

Also, they are familiar with the capital needs and capital market gaps for refugee entrepreneurs and therefore train refugees how to access to business credit.

In FY 2019, there are 21 MED grantees in 15 states that receive grants totaling about $4.5 million.

Refugees bring many positive attributes to the Microenterprise Development Program including a diverse and rich array of business ideas, skills, experiences, and a strong desire to succeed.

Eligibility includes persons who meet all requirements of 45 CFR 400.43 (as amended by 65 FR 154009 (March 22, 2000). The targeted refugee population for these programs may include refugees who receive public assistance or subsidies, and/or who lack the financial resources, credit history, or personal assets to qualify for business loans or assistance through commercial institutions. Refugees who are not yet citizens may participate in the Microenterprise Development Program regardless of their date of arrival in the U.S.

Policy Information

  • 45 CFR 400.43
  • 65 FR 15409 (March 22, 2000)
  • 412 (c) (1) (A) of the Immigration and Nationality ACT (INA) (8 U.S.C. 1522 (c) (1) (A)

Contact ORR
Administration for Children and Families
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C ST SW
Room 5123
Washington, DC 20201

For general inquiries about ORR programs and services, please call 202.401.9246

Media Inquiries
Members of the press may contact the ACF Office of Communications at 202.401.9215 or media@acf.hhs.gov

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