MEPs provided access to financial capital, business training, and technical assistance to entrepreneurs with low incomes in communities without access to these services in order to improve the economic well-being of families with low incomes.
MEPs provided basic business training, facilitated access to financial capital and lending, and performed technical assistance for participants. The access to financial capital component included peer-to-peer lending, direct lending from the service organization, and guidance through the banking sector.
Participants were “microentrepreneurs” whose incomes were less than or equal to 150 percent of the national poverty line (in 1991 dollars). Microentrepreneurs could receive MEP services as long as their incomes remained at or below the income threshold.
The MEP model was part of a demonstration that took place at seven sites throughout the United States (St. Paul, MN; Chicago, IL; Iowa City, IA; Los Angeles, CA; Pine Bluff, AR; Raleigh, NC; and the Southwest), whose implementation of MEP varied in minor ways.