Here are some commonly asked questions about Village Enterprise.

Are you a microfinance organization?

No, Village Enterprise is not a microfinance organization. We equip people living in extreme poverty with the resources to create sustainable businesses. Our model includes providing grants (rather than loans) and business training, as well as the formation of community-led savings groups.

Is Village Enterprise a graduation program?

Yes. Village Enterprise’s graduation program consists of a set of sequenced interventions recognized by CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) as “key components to put very poor people on a sustainable pathway out of extreme poverty.” According to Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times, “the graduation program gives very poor families a significant boost that continues after the program ends.” Common elements of graduation programs include business training and ongoing business mentoring, start-up grants or asset transfers, and a business savings program. Other entities that follow a graduation model also provide limited consumption support, though Village Enterprise does not. Additionally, Village Enterprise’s program is one year rather than two, and we form businesses of three business owners each. Our current randomized controlled trial will determine and differentiate the impact of each of these separate components of the graduation model.

How do you calculate your cost per business?

With $500, Village Enterprise establishes a new business formed of three business owners. This amount includes the $150 startup capital, one year of business training and mentoring, monitoring and evaluation, field expenses and operating costs. Each business benefits an average of 20 people.

Does Village Enterprise work exclusively with women?

No. At present, over 80% of our business owners are women because women are more likely to live in extreme poverty and are generally more willing meet the requirements of the program. By harnessing the combined talents of both women and men, as well as the cooperation of all family members, we maximize the beneficial impact on the community.

How can I get involved?

Volunteers are the lifeblood of Village Enterprise. We are always looking for passionate world changers to join our efforts to eliminate extreme poverty. Learn more about how you can get involved here.

Won’t high population growth erase gains made in poverty alleviation?

No, this is a commonly misunderstood assumption. In fact, birth rates decline as families rise out of poverty. When the poor know that their children will survive, they have fewer children. In addition, research consistently shows that women who are empowered through education tend to have fewer children and have them later.

What kind of small businesses do Village Enterprise entrepreneurs typically start?

Examples of our businesses include livestock, farming, small retail stores and restaurants, tailoring, and beekeeping.

If you have an additional question, please send it to info@villageenterprise.org.