The MIDAS touch to save a dwindling community: Microenterprise individual development account services

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Southern New Hampshire University
MIDAS(Microenterprise Individual Development Account Services) is one Community Economic Development project in a comprehensive community plan to address employment, outmigration, and poverty in Warren County, Georgia. The population, especially ages 20 to 44 years old, has been on a steady decline, losing 12.52% of the population between 1970 and 2010 (U. S. Census Bureau, 2011), with a current population of 5,834. Young adults leave to obtain post-secondary education and employment, leaving behind an aging community and decreasing pool of educated potential workers that could attract businesses. This outmigration negatively impacts the economy of this community suffering 17% unemployment and over 27% poverty. CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, Inc. and other partners have implemented MIDAS to provide Microenterprise and financial education, mentoring, and a $2 to $1 savings match for eight low-income high school students participating in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Warren County High School. Their savings and match will be used to launch or expand a business in Warren County, helping them remain a resident while earning an income and developing a career. MIDAS is one project in a comprehensive plan to support entrepreneurship, attract business and industry, and provide employment opportunities for community residents. (Author abstract)