Entrepreneurs and Mercy Corps Northwest

Mercy Corps Northwest is committed to assisting low-income populations throughout Oregon and in areas of Washington State by increasing their economic self-sufficiency and community integration through self-employment. We do this by providing funding, matched savings, training and other services to clients that don’t have access to traditional business financing and resources. This improves their financial stability and empowers them to develop or expand a small business.

Client Demographics

  • Our clients are 69% female and 31% male
  • 38% of our clients come from Hispanic, African-American, Asian, immigrant/refugee and other minority communities
  • The majority of MCNW clients live at, or slightly above, the federal poverty line and below 80% of Median Family Income (MFI). Rarely do our clients’  incomes exceed 200% of the prevailing U.S. government poverty rate.
  • The average business revenue for our clients with full-time businesses is $66,685
  • Minority entrepreneurs make up 38% of MercyCorps NW's small business clients

    Microenterprise in Oregon

    Microenterprises (companies with 5 or fewer employees) make up over 86% of all Oregon and Washington businesses. Most microenterprises operate as sole proprietorships, creating employment for the owner and often other family members.  They are often our neighborhood “mom and pop” businesses.  They face unique challenges and are denied access to conventional lending due to a lack of operating history, credit, or collateral. 

    Nationally microenterprises represent the vast majority of all US. businesses. These microenterprises added between 4.5 and 5 million new jobs between 2000-2005.  In 2002, following the 2001 recession, microenterprises still created close to 1 million new jobs.

    An Opportunity at Hand

    Statistically over 90% of all existing US microenterprises are not well served.  They lack what they need to help them thrive—funding and business expertise.  This is a missed opportunity for everyone.  When small businesses flourish, we all benefit.

    Some of the broader social impacts of microenterprise development:

    • New local services and products
    • Graduation from public assistance
    • Progress out of a poverty income
    • Sustained self-employment
    • Job creation and retention
    • Stronger tax base
    MercyCorps NW
    MercyCorps NW