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From the farm tractor to the fast lane

Manitoba farm boy beats the odds to
become a professional race car driver

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

David Richert finds it easy to connect his racing career with his Christian faith.
Given the odds against him succeeding in professional auto racing, he has no other explanation for the past 16 years.Richert animatedDavid Richert is passionate about racing as a calling

“Racing and God intersected with each other, in the sense that God used racing as a tool for me to have an opportunity to experience him for myself, and how he operates in the world around me,” Richert told an audience who attended a workshop about his life story at MEDA’s annual Business as a Calling convention.

As a child who grew up collecting eggs on his family’s farm south of Winnipeg, Man., he had no interest in motorized vehicles. When he finally discovered racing at the age of 20, he was told that he was both too old and too tall to be a race car driver.

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Focusing on what’s important

Turnaround expert applies business lessons
to succeeding in life

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

For all his business adventures, Greg Brenneman thinks of personal relationships when asked about his biggest regret.

“In life, my biggest failure was probably not doubling down on my faith (earlier),” Brenneman told MEDA’s annual convention in Indianapolis.Greg Brenneman book signingGreg Brenneman signs copies of his best-selling book

Brenneman, executive chair of private equity firm CCMP Capital, is a leading business turnaround expert. He has served in senior roles at prominent US businesses, including Burger King, PWC Consulting and Continental Airlines.

A Hesston, Kan. native, he wrote the best-selling book, Right Away & All At Once: Five Steps to Transform Your Business and Enrich Your Life.

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Helping farmers meet market challenges

Female agri-food entrepreneurs share tales from the trenches

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

Female entrepreneurs are making great strides in raising living standards for farmers around the world, but still face challenges getting financing and other resources to expand.

That was the message of a panel discussion featuring three women who are doing innovative work in the agri-food sector. women farmers Mutuku Kessy Hess resizedRose Mutuku, Sarah William Kessy and Lali Hess

Two African business owners, Kenyan Rose Mutuku and Tanzanian Sarah William Kessy, along with Indiana entrepreneur Lali Hess, shared stories about efforts to do business in challenging environments, at MEDA’s annual convention.

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Coffee chats

Souderton restaurant builds relationships

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

By Eileen R. Kinch

Souderton, PA — When Pam and Andy Brunner went into the restaurant business 17 years ago, they did so for a simple reason: they wanted to work for themselves.Pam and Andy BrunnerPam and Andy Brunner

Both were employed by a local plumbing company, with Andy as a commercial foreman and Pam in the bathroom design department.

After the Towne Restaurant in Telford, PA. went up for sale, Pam and Andy purchased it and began running a restaurant. Along the way, however, the Brunners discovered their customers and employees were hungry for family and community, not just for food.

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Under 40s explore change through business

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Jan-Feb 2019

Using business to bring about societal change in North America is a complex issue that requires collaboration and tenacity, a conference for students and young professionals was told.

“I don’t know about you, but the people I work with don’t want change, said Roxann Allen Kioko, of Eastern Mennonite University’s business and leadership programs. “People usually hate change.”

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A tradition of quality

Miller Poultry named supplier of the year by Whole Foods

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Nov-Dec. 2018

GOSHEN, IND — Miller Poultry has enjoyed remarkable growth in recent years. Its focus on quality and animal welfare has been honored by Whole Foods, its largest customer.

But the Orland, Ind.-based poultry processor is quick to stress that it is a small niche player in a massive US market for what has become American’s favorite meat.

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Java Junction blends theory and practice

Goshen College students run a coffee shop for course credit

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Nov-Dec. 201818 JavaJunction sophomore Melissa MaMelissa Ma pours a drink for a Java Junction customer

GOSHEN, IND — Michelle Horning likes to see students apply their business studies to the real world of business.

So much so that she has students operate a coffee shop on the Goshen College campus, for course credit, in a class called Java Junction management.

“Reading a book about business is completely different than running a business,” says Horning, who is an accounting professor and chair of Goshen College’s business department.

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Building capacity in Nigeria

Kim Pityn for AGM story sidebar

MEDA’s work in northern Nigeria is “the right project, in the right place at the right time,” strengthening businesses, creating jobs and fostering women’s equality, MEDA staffer Kim Pityn says.

MEDA’s chief operating officer made the comments about a recent visit to Nigeria during the organization’s annual general meeting in Indianapolis.
“I was overwhelmed with the entrepreneurial spirit of the clients. It was fabulous.”

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From medicine to development

Dorothy at her home in AncasterDorothy at her home in AncasterAs printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - November-December

MEDA’s new president is first doctor, woman to hold the position

As a child growing up in Cameroon, Dorothy Nyambi wanted to pursue a career in medicine.

Initially, Dr. Nyambi wanted to be a pharmacist, as she believed pharmacists cured people. “I later found out the pharmacist fills out the prescription. They don’t really diagnose the disease.”

That insight altered the career path of the woman who will become MEDA’s president and chief executive officer in late November. Nyambi, a dual citizen of Canada and Cameroon, will succeed Allan Sauder, who is retiring from a post he has held for 16 years.

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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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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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Reflections on Business Journeys

Young Kansas entrepreneurs share stories of
lessons learned in building their businesses.

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

By Susan Miller

Yoder, Kan. — Many youths get their first entrepreneurial experience by mowing lawns. However Shane Iwashige, now in his early 30s, has reversed the pattern. After working on several unrelated small businesses — cutting firewood, raising dogs and running a small farm — he started investing in real estate and offering home services to people in the Hutchinson, Kan. area.

Shanes Professional Profile Pic 001Shane IwashigeIn July 2018 he added lawn mowing, edging and landscaping services to the collection of small companies he founded under The Rock Group. Since late summer and autumn rains kept unirrigated lawns green until after the first snowfall in mid-October, Iwashige spent many work hours mowing grass on the 170 properties he manages.

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Functional Art

Elkhart woodworker turns discarded trees
into high-end furnishings

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Nov-Dec. 2018

Elkhart, IND — Discovering the potential of wood has been a lifelong interest for Matt Thomas.

He did woodworking with his father, Steve, a tri-vocational pastor who also works as an arborist and co-ordinator of Mennonite Men during his childhood. He also volunteered at a friend’s sawmill, growing to love milling wood in the process. Matt Thomas dog and wood for Nov MarketplaceMatt Thomas and his dog Myla with logs outside the Elko Hardwoods workshop

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Service is recipe for flourishing food business

Family produce stand grows to
four Sarasota area supermarkets

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Nov-Dec. 2018

By JB MillerDetwilers who work in the store minus EmilyNine members of the Detwiler family work in the supermarket. Eight are pictured here.

PALMETTO, FL — Anticipating the opening of the newest Detwiler’s Farm Market in July, the Detwiler family wondered, “Will anyone come?”

There was no need to worry. Cars jammed the parking lot and nearly 5,000 shoppers visited that first day. With the opening of their fourth store, Detwiler’s is on its way to meet a company goal of serving nearly three million customers over the next year.

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Combining faith and finance

Hochstetler Ken 4x5 Skills developed over 25 years in banking help Ken Hochstetler lead Everence

Goshen, IND — Ken Hochstetler’s office at Everence’s corporate headquarters isn’t adorned with the trophies, diplomas and awards you might expect in the workspace of a man who heads a $3 billion company.

The only framed mementos that reflect his journey are a print he received after serving nine years on MEDA’s board, and a smaller certificate that dates back four-and-a-half decades.

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Helping more people realize better lives

MEDA posts record results for second consecutive year

Sauder and Nyambi for pg. 8 January 2019 The MarketplaceAllan Sauder and Dorothy NyambiIndianapolis — As Allan Sauder’s leadership of Mennonite Economic Development Associates ended in 2018, the organization’s success in creating business solutions to poverty reached an all time high.

MEDA set new records, both in donations received and clients served, for the second consecutive year, Sauder noted in his final address to the organization’s annual convention in November. In the year ended June 30, MEDA received $8.2 million in private donations from supporters in North America and Europe, up 31 per cent from a year earlier.

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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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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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