What is defined as impossible today is impossible only in the context of the present paradigms. Too often the future of our business, of our industry, or our nation, exists just outside the boundaries of the prevailing paradigm, impossible to see.
Joel Barker, 1992 Future Edge.
We were talking shifting paradigms in 1992. They keep shifting, those paradigms in 2010.
Take for example, if you do not have collateral, you are not credit-worthy. That’s a shifting paradigm. Traditionally, the financial institutions believe the low income are not credit-worthy; they create barriers to the chance for individuals to lift themselves out of poverty.
Microcredit for microenterprises has ‘shifted’ that thinking.
Microenterprises are small businesses with 5 or fewer employees, and where the owner, the microentrepreneur, does not have access to those resources that will make him/her ‘credit-worthy (to quote the bank)’. We all see the microenterprises everywhere. I ate a taco for breakfast from the corner taco restaurant. 3 employees and the best tacos in my neighborhood! I’m not talking TACO TACO or Blanco Cafe, but the tacos are still good.
TEXAS is one of the top states in the nation with the most microenterprises: more than 50,000.
So what is shifting here? The access by microentrepreneurs to money, resources, and the participation in their economy is shifting, ever so slowly. Certainly no tidal wave, but organizations like ACCION Texas, a microlender, is leading the change.
An interesting book on the topic: Kitchen Capitalism Microenterprises in Low-Income Households by Sherraden, Sanders and Sherraden.