BR Microenterprise

Who We Are

Big Red Microenterprise (BRM) is an educational experience that spurs microenterprise development by assisting self-employed individuals reach their business goals. Launched in January of 2009, BRM seeks to meet a critical need by working with promising, but underserved entrepreneurs in the local community. BRM partners with the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (Center) to support microbusiness owners. By offering coaching to entrepreneurs, our goal is to contribute to the local community, supporting inclusive wealth creation and economic development.

The first such program among business schools, BRM serves as a bridge connecting the human capital and resources of Johnson with talented, community-based entrepreneurs. Through customized support services that recognize the challenges faced by self-employed microbusiness owners, we assist clients reach their goals and build successful businesses. Here are some examples of the projects students worked on:

Building Successful Microbusinesses

We work in partnership with clients, community and university partners to create mutually-beneficial relationships. We accomplish the following:

  • Partner with microbusiness owners to help them think through their business plans, tackle business problems, and connect to other helpful resources to support growth and expansion.
  • Offer unparalleled performance-learning opportunities to business school students by applying best practices in social entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprise development.

Applying to BRM: Clients

If you are self-employed or have a small business in Tompkins County, the Finger Lakes region, or the Southern Tier, BRM may be just the right service for you! Preference is given to applicants that meet the following criteria:

  • Earn less than 80% of your county’s median income.
  • You operate a sustainability focused business.
  • A member of an underserved or underrepresented population (i.e. Women, Black, Latino/a/x, Indigenous, Person of Color, LGBTQ+, Veteran, etc)
  • Have a business that has been operational for at least six months.
  • Have limited access to the formal financial system due to poor credit history, lack of credit history, or limited collateral.

Clients and students work together during the spring semester (January-May). Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis through December.

If you are interested in learning more or prefer a Word or PDF application form, please contact

Client Application

Applying to BRM: Students

Big Red Microenterprise is open to first- and second-year MBA students. There will be information sessions and an application period during the fall semester.

If you have questions or want to receive information when applications are open, please contact