The Missing Middles: Segmenting Enterprises to Better Understand Their Financial Needs


“This report proposes a new segmentation framework to help financial service providers, enterprises, donors, limited partners (LPs), and field-building organizations understand and navigate the complex landscape of SGB investment in frontier and emerging markets. The segmentation framework we propose uniquely integrates a number of approaches often used independently, but rarely in concert with each other. Our methodology combined perspectives from leading SGB investors on how they segment the market; analysis of enterprise-level quantitative data from multiple SGB investors; and behavioral analysis of entrepreneurs using human-centered design techniques. We focus on enterprises with five to 250 employees and financing needs ranging from $20,000 to $2 million. We include both impact-oriented and traditional, “bread-and-butter” enterprises within the scope of this study. We do not include enterprises that are informal or are unlikely to embark on a path of formalization, due to their limited growth prospects and the major difficulties financial service providers face in serving them.”