Micro-entrepreneurs in a Platform Era

Annabel Schiff

We talked to 27 micro-entrepreneurs in Kenya about how they use platforms (from social media sites to e-commerce marketplaces and online freelancing websites) in their day-to-day business. The platform practices these conversations revealed include: the prevalence of social media use, the intermingling of online and offline worlds, the adjustments made to tweak online credibility, and the unique approaches to upskilling. Platform product designers should build with these practices in mind. Our research aims to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be a micro-entrepreneur in the platform era, and how the spread of platforms presents new opportunities—and challenges—for their economic and financial inclusion.


our research micro-site to read (and watch!) more about the micro-entrepreneurs we met and an analysis of their platform practices including the adjustments these micro-entrepreneurs make to survive and thrive in a platform era.