Constructing markets to serve the poor in developing countries is an increasingly popular approach among non-governmental and government organizations for poverty reduction. This study explores a UN Agency project aimed at developing a market for business services for micro- entrepreneurs in China. By using socio-economic theories on the construction of markets combined with institutional theories, the author describes the activities, challenges, and concerns of a market designer when constructing a market. The findings show how the idea of the market can be used as a tool to provide a vision and unite actors around common goals and objectives. However, in this specific project, the voluntary nature of the standards in the market model limits the ability of the market designers - the UN Agency - to control the implementation and make the market work. The market designers become forced to compromise and manipulate the original idea of the market, which results in an unstable market with conflicting interests and goals built into the design.