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BYU hosts Microenterprise Conference March 13-15

The Sixth Annual Microenterprise Conference, sponsored by the Program for Economic Self-Reliance at Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Management, will be held Thursday through Saturday, March 13-15.

The BYU conference, the largest of its kind, gathers microfinance institutions, non-governmental organizations, educators, students and volunteers for discussions and workshops on microenterprise innovations.

All sessions of the conference, which is free to the public, will be held in the Wilkinson Student Center at BYU. Those planning to attend should pre-register online at For more information, visit the Web site or call (801) 422-9009.

The theme of this year's conference is "Sustainable Strategies for Building Economic Self-Reliance." Attendees new to or well-acquainted with the concept of microenterprise are invited to learn how microfinance institutions are helping poor families and individuals find opportunities to develop self-employment enterprises.

"This is my favorite microenterprise conference of the year," says John Hatch, founder of the Foundation for International Community Assistance, an anti-poverty organization with operations on five continents. "It's a great way to catch up with colleagues and friends, learn about new innovations, network with strategic philanthropists and recruit new research interns."

The conference will begin Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with a reception and opening session in 3228 WSC. Hour-long panel discussions and breakout sessions will be held every hour from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A full conference schedule can be found online at

"More than 800 people attended the conference in 2002," says Todd Manwaring, executive director of BYU's Program for Economic Self-Reliance. "This is a unique opportunity for many of the top researchers, practitioners and organizations involved in microenterprise to network and share what they are learning from their research and work."

Conference participants include Kathleen Gordon of MicroBusiness USA, Alex Counts of Grameen USA, BYU professors Warner Woodworth, Gary Bryner, Gary Woller and Steve Jones, and Robert Hokanson of the Utah-based Enterprise Mentors International, which will announce a new initiative in Peru during the conference.

Writer: Burke Olsen

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