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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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Faith in the workplace

Pastor converts to value of churches helping with job training

By Colin McCartney

A while ago I had the opportunity to attend a job creation conference in Memphis. I have been doing some church planting work for the Mennonites in low-income urban, neighbourhoods and they wanted me to look into creating micro-businesses that would employ people in our job-depleted urban communities.

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She sets the bar high

GORPFuel for the journey: Colleen Dyck in her basement kitchen where protein, fibre and Omega 3 are packed into tasty GORP bars.

Popular adventure product has a dual mission — furnish clean energy and get people out into God’s creation

Colleen Dyck got a call one day from a retailer: “Did you just pay three people to come into our store and urge us to sell your bars?”

It’s a business owner’s dream — to have customers help with marketing.

That’s what has happened in the four years since Dyck started manufacturing GORP Clean Energy Bars.

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New skills in Myanmar

Cavelle DoveCavelle DoveAs featured in The Marketplace - 2016 - May/June:

Cavelle Dove is passionate about empowering impoverished women. As director of MEDA’s new project in Myanmar, she helps women seize new business opportunities in the country’s changing economic environment.
Even before working for MEDA she was active in similar pursuits in Yangon, Myanmar. She and a Canadian friend, Kelly MacDonald, opened the Bakehouse, a catering business that gives struggling women a foothold in the new economy.

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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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Passing the baton: The Marketplace welcomes its third editor

Wally and MikeMEDA editors are a rare breed, partly because there are so few of them. Thus far the organization has had only two people occupy the editor’s chair — Calvin Redekop, who founded The Marketplace in 1980, and Wally Kroeker, who came on board in 1985 and will retire on June 30.

We are delighted to announce our third. Seasoned journalist Mike Strathdee joined MEDA on May 1 as publications editor.

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Eldercare lessons from Ghana

Who would have thought the soy fields of Africa could yield benefits in a seniors’ home across the globe

by Linda Whitmore

peopleCare

At first blush, you might wonder what a Canadian organization of seven long-term care homes could learn from women soy farmers in Ghana that they could apply back home. But learn, they did, and the experiences of a dozen peopleCare staff who visited MEDA's Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in 2014 have been incorporated into its culture and practices.

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Beyond bananas

Cavelle in boatAs featured in The Marketplace - 2016 - May/June:

by Cavelle Dove, Myanmar

I grew up in the most eastern part of Canada, in Newfoundland. My early years were in a very small homogenous rural community, where the most exotic thing that ever happened was that once a month we would drive to a larger centre and buy bananas. Bananas! It was a luxury and a reminder of a larger world somewhere out there.

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