Back in 2008, Michael Strong wrote “Beyond Microfinance: Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty Alleviation” available at http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/resources/ethics_online/0026.html
There, he made the following statement:
The single most important discovery of the GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Project) is that the higher the ratio of “opportunity entrepreneurs” to “necessity entrepreneurs,” the less poverty there is in a given country.
“Opportunity entrepreneurs” are those entrepreneurs who create real businesses that grow based on an identified entrepreneurial niche. “Necessity entrepreneurs” are self-employed poor people struggling to survive. Most microentrepreneurs are “necessity entrepreneurs” rather than “opportunity entrepreneurs.”
From your observations as microfinance experts, is this a fair statement in 2011? Are there more positive impacts created by microfinance on economic growth and wellbeing that what Strong’s statement suggests? Is there a clear cut division between such types of entrepreneurs in poorest areas in the developing world?