Advancing Knowledge & Innovation

FIELD engages in research to build understanding of how business ownership connects to and addresses key elements of economic opportunity. We also use our research and evaluation expertise to help microenterprise and small business development practitioners understand and improve their own practice.

Business ownership is a means for individuals and families to generate income, build wealth, and support the economy and health of their communities. As such, it connects to some of our nation’s critical challenges: a large and growing racial wealth gap; the loss of businesses, jobs, and opportunity in communities affected by economic change; the changing nature of work; and the barriers to economic opportunity faced by women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, those who have been involved with the justice system, and others. Building effective programs and policies requires an understanding of what works best and how changing labor market, financial market, and demographic patterns affect opportunities for business ownership. FIELD’s research illuminates these issues for practitioners, funders, and policymakers.