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Convention will focus on roads to enduring livelihoods

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Indy photoIntersections, Roads to Enduring Livelihoods is the theme of MEDA’s annual Business as a Calling convention, to be held Nov. 8-11 at the JW Marriott Hotel, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Greg Brenneman, a corporate turnaround expert who is executive chairman of private equity firm CCMP Capital and author of the book Right Away & All at Once (see excerpt, pp. 8-9), will provide the opening plenary address on Thursday evening.

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Keeping track of business

Ukraine farmers use Excel-based calculator to record costs, sales and the bottom line

Alexandra Harmash, MEDA Ukraine’s gender and cross-cutting services manager, developed a business calculator to help farmers keep better records.Alexandra Harmash, MEDA Ukraine’s gender and cross-cutting services manager, developed a business calculator to help farmers keep better records.As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

A few years ago, farmers in the Ukraine rarely tracked their financials in the same manner as most businesses.

That meant they often lacked the figures or evidence to show whether certain crops, or their business, was successful or not.

Even those people who used paper-based records, simple Excel sheets or accounting software lacked the guidance, business logic and direction to properly work with data in a way that would provide useful information.

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Overcoming barriers to development

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

more studying Libya 2Online training extends MEDA’s reachIn international development work, a variety of factors can combine to limit the reach and effectiveness of training programs.

Even when clients are clamoring for the services being offered, issues around culture, language and traditional gender roles can slow down progress.

Add armed conflict or political instability to the mix and progress requires patience, perseverance, innovation and ingenuity.

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Family empire built on life-long interest in seniors

schlegel family 2012The Schlegel family, clockwise from top left: Jamie, Barb, Brad, Rob and RonAs printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

By Mike Strathdee

Ron Schlegel’s interest in seniors developed at an early age.

When he was 10 years old, his father, Wilfred, purchased the Egerton private hospital, a nursing home in London, ON. Ron and four of his siblings, along with their parents, moved into an attached apartment.

He carried meal trays and ran errands for residents before school in the morning, again at noon and for the evening meals during much of the next two years. “Once I got the trays finished, I could go play sports.”

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Making a lasting impact

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Allan Sauder drives MEDA staffer Mike Miller and supporter Barry Stauffer in rural Nebraska.Allan Sauder drives MEDA staffer Mike Miller and supporter Barry Stauffer in rural Nebraska.

Outgoing MEDA president pleased by continued success of early clients

When Allan Sauder looks back on 31 years at MEDA, the last 16 as president, he often thinks back to his early international work.

“There’s no substitute for living in a country to experience both the highs and the lows,” he says. “To experience the depth of the culture, the language, and after a couple of years, realizing that there are limitations to what you can understand.”

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Growth by leasing

Tanzanian firm helps businesses access needed equipment

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018EFTA leased a greenhouse and drig irrigation system to this entrepreneur resized for articleSabas Shirima of Rombo, Tanzania, stands in front of oil expelling machines used in agribusiness applications that he leases from EFTA.

MOSHI, TANZANIA — One of the challenges facing entrepreneurs in developing countries is the inability to get credit.

In many African nations, purchasing machinery needed to grow a business can be especially difficult.

Tanzanian Banks are very risk averse, requiring 125 per cent collateral for any loans. Tanzanian entrepreneurs and farmers can’t meet that standard.

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Talking Technology and Theology

Business people, techies, pastors need to discuss digital addiction and new ideas, panel says

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

WATERLOO, ON — Pastors and people working in the technology sector need to learn how to talk to each other so they can collaborate to strengthen the church, James Kelly says.

Kelly made the comment at The Fusing of Minds: How Tech, Church and Business Can Create Together seminar. It was sponsored by Faith Tech, a Waterloo-based organization.

Faith Tech, founded by Kelly in 2016, provides a place for Christians working in the technology sector to share their stories and think about ways to apply their talents to pressing social challenges.JK for Faithtech storyJames Kelly

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The art of assessing the deal

Before MEDA invests in a company, a Sarona partner travels abroad to check it out

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Serge LeVert-Chiasson is a firm believer in checking all the boxes en route to a potential investment decision.

“Making good decisions is more about the process around the decision and less about the people making the decisions,” he says.

LeVert-Chiasson is a Sarona Asset Management partner. Sarona is a private equity fund manager that grew out of MEDA.

Whenever MEDA is considering an investment, LeVert-Chiasson is called upon to kick the tires and look under the hood.Tree Global GhanaVisiting Tree Global in Ghana

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For a greener future

MJ Patterson speaking at REEP HouseMary Jane Patterson speaks at an event at the REEP House for Sustainable Living. Photos courtesy REEP Green SolutionsAs printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Kitchener group helps build more sustainable communities

By Mike Strathdee

Kitchener, ON — Mary Jane Patterson takes a long-term view when she describes the work of the environmental charity that she heads.

“It grows out of caring,” says Patterson, executive director of REEP Green Solutions. “Caring is in our vision. We believe by acting today we can leave our children a community that is more sustainable, vibrant, caring and resilient.”

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Farmer advocates for “essential” workers

Told President Trump dairy, poultry industries need foreign help

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018Luke Brubaker LNP Media Group

Many entrepreneurs wish they could have a face-to-face chat with a government leader to explain how that government’s policy is negatively affecting their business.

Pennsylvania farmer Luke Brubaker had that close-up conversation with US president Donald Trump last spring, as one of 14 representatives of the ag industry invited to the White House for a farmers’ roundtable.

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Helping by listening

MEDA volunteer business experts ask questions to help develop answers

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018Kathleen ENGINE meeting Getting businesspeople to think of themselves as service providers was helpful, says Kathleen Campbell (right)

Helping small businesses in Africa is like any new relationship in one important respect — listening carefully is a crucial first step.

“As outsiders, we never bring the answers,” Kathleen Campbell says. “But if we can bring the right questions, then it helps these small businesses. They can make leaps forward in how they start to think about their businesses.”

Campbell, who lives in California, volunteered in Tanzania for MEDA’s ENGINE (Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise) program for six weeks this past fall.

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From farm to market

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Tanzanian firm processes and distributes natural products

CS pic Halisi factory signs resized to send to RaySigns at Halisi’s processing plantSara Kessy, pictured below and lower left, is the founder of Halisi Products. Halisi is a MEDA lead firm that works with 1,000 suppliers, mainly women farmers, in Tanzania’s northern Arusha corridor. Halisi, a Swahili word that means natural, processes soya meal, porridge, peanut butter and two types of honey — regular and stingless bee. They also sell spices grown in Tanzania.

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The importance of saying No

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Greg BrennemanGreg BrennemanGreg Brenneman, one of the world’s leading business turnaround executives, is chairman, president, and CEO of the private equity firm CCMP. Brenneman is one of the keynote speakers at MEDA’s upcoming convention: Intersections – Business as a Calling 2018, to be held Nov. 8-11 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The excerpt below is from his book: Right Away & All at Once: Five Steps to Transform Your Business and Enrich Your Life.

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Advice from Leviticus

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

NickRamsingOld Testament book a good guide for business decisions

By Nick Ramsing

Leviticus is a great business book. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that systemic poverty in the US wouldn’t exist if we used Leviticus as a business model.

It’s helpful to reflect on our perspectives of Leviticus: its context, central purpose and potential to help us today. Then, I can better explain my perspective as a business and market analyst.

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Teaching with Talking Books

Pre-recorded messages are an effective way of getting info to rural Ghanaian farmers

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

talking book deviceTalking books can be used by MEDA clients regardless of their level of literacy.

Teaching technical information to people who are mostly not literate can pose serious challenges.

But if use of books isn’t helpful, talking books can get the message across.

MEDA’s Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project has made wide use of talking books through a partnership with Literacy Bridge, a Ghanaian non-governmental agency.

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An energy solution for 600 million people

Entrepreneur hopes to bring reliable, inexpensive power to southern Africa

By Mike StrathdeeX best for Africa storySiya Xusa wants to power Africa.

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

When he was five years old, Siyabulela Xuza saw his first airplane.

That strange sight led him to read about planets. The young boy decided he wanted to visit Jupiter and started trying to mix rocket fuel in his mother’s kitchen.

A few decades later he heads up a company that he says may soon bring cheap, reliable power to a billion Africans.

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Creating his own job

Nigerian entrepreneur sells artisanal products through Facebook page

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Like many highly educated Nigerians, Jerry Doubles struggled to find work after graduating.

Despite earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial chemistry in 2009 and applying for hundreds of jobs over the two years that followed, he couldn’t land formal employment with the private sector, the government or the army.Jerry Doubles founder Made in JosJerry Doubles used Facebook to start a company. Photos by Tirzah Hea Halder

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Weathering the Storms of Entrepreneurship

Making lives better by lifting others

By Jeanette Gardner Littleton

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

HARRISONVILLE, MO — “My nicknames were ‘golden boy’ and ‘lucky,’” Mike Vogt says of his early vocational journey. He’d just left college in the 1980s when he landed his first job as a draftsman for a firm that manufactures stair lifts and wheelchair lifts. He learned, grew, was promoted in the small company, and was content.

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A flavor sensation

1 IMG 9413Vanilla beans provide an above average return for Tanzanian farmers.

Tanzanian firm partners with MEDA to grow farmers’ income

By Mike Strathdee

MOSHI, TANZANIA — Juan Guardado has abandoned several careers that could have made him quite well-to-do.

Money has been less important to him than making a difference and improving people’s lives.

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Faith and kiwi farming

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Kliewer family kiwiThe Kliewers grow Mega Kiwis and thank God for making it possible.Three generations of the Kliewer family grow fruit on their central California farm. The Kliewers, members of the Reedley Mennonite Brethren Church, were in 1973 one of the first area farmers to grow kiwi. They established a Guinness World Record with a Mega Kiwi weighing over 10 ounces. This variety, 50 per cent larger than a typical kiwi, is native to Greece.

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The economics of equality

MEDA gender pilot helps firms do well by doing the right thing

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

When businesses in developing countries think about social responsibility, consideration of gender equality doesn’t always make it on the list.

MEDA is working to change this situation by helping businesses consider gender issues as part of their investment decision-making.

“The private sector is interested in gender mainstreaming,” says MEDA’s Devon Krainer, who served as project manager for MEDA’s Gender Equality Mainstreaming (GEM) pilot.

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