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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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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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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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Food for the future

Lancaster entrepreneur uses business profits to educate Kenyan children

By JoAnn Flett

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

Dorothy Dulo is a social entrepreneur from Kenya who lives in Lancaster, Pa. She is soft spoken, thoughtful and exudes the gifts of the Holy Spirit like kindness and gentleness.

“As a woman entrepreneur, you need to have self-confidence and passion for what you do,” she said. “You also need to be relentless in doing things that will lead you to your goals.”

Dulo is intentionally giving women and girls opportunities to become social entrepreneurs, and to pursue their passions and interests.

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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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Maximizing purpose to grow profits

Businesses that take wholistic view are thriving

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

Businesses that want to grow lasting profits will embrace “triple bottom line” thinking that seeks to maximize purpose as well as dollars, a Pennsylvania business professor says.Flett J 2013

“At the end of the day, because of how God has created and designed business to work, you are actually going to maximize profit if you pay attention to your customers, to your suppliers, to your employees,” JoAnn Flett said in a workshop address at MEDA’s annual convention in Vancouver.

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Finding workplace mentors in the Bible

Nehemiah set an example worth following, pastor says

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018David Esau IMG 3707David Esau

People looking for a mentor in their daily work would do well to emulate the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah, pastor David Esau says.

“I highly recommend Nehemiah to you.”

Esau, who serves as lead pastor at Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship in Coquitlam, B.C., made the suggestion in a Sunday morning plenary message at MEDA’s 2017 convention in Vancouver.

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Providing economic opportunity is a spiritual act

Long-time publications editor makes Biblical case for MEDA’s mission

As Printed in The Marketplace – January/February 2018Kroeker plenary 2017 convention

MEDA’s work providing economic opportunity in developing nations is a deeply spiritual vocation that is desperately needed by a hurting world, long-time staffer Wally Kroeker told the agency’s annual convention.

“I believe MEDA’s work is as Godly and missional as it gets,” Kroeker told over 300 supporters who gathered in Vancouver in early November. “Seriously folks, the world really, really needs our consistently transformational message. We exist for times like these.”

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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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Mango Time

Kenya vegetable packer helps small farmers expand into fruit production

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

Jane answers questions best

NAIROBI, KENYA - Jane Maina has a plan to increase the incomes of thousands of Kenyan farmers, and diversify her own business in the process.

Maina, managing director and co-owner of Vert, aims to reduce her vegetable processing firm’s dependence on European markets, and replace some of her nation’s imports of one of its favorite juices.

Through a partnership with MEDA’s M-SAWA project, (M-SAWA stands for Maendeleo- Sawa, or Equitable Prosperity) –Vert aims to train subsistence farmers how to grow mangos and passion fruit that meet international standards.

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Starting over with Peace by Chocolate

Family creates jobs in rural village that sponsored them

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

In an ideal world, Tareq Hadhad would be practicing medicine in his homeland.

Instead, he is the public face of his family’s chocolate company, in a country they have only called home for a couple of years.

But with an entrepreneur’s can-do attitude, Hadhad chooses to emphasize the positive. “We always have challenges in our lives,” Hadhad said in a seminar presentation about his family’s firm, Peace by Chocolate, at MEDA’s annual convention in Vancouver.Hadhad shot possible head and shoulders for pg. 10

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Up from the ashes

Celebrated fashion line raises funds for charity decades after firm’s demise

By J.B. Miller

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018Eugene Alexander Dress Sue and EugeneSusan Kauffman and Eugene Stuzman with one of the Eugene Alexander gowns

High fashion ladies apparel is a fickle business. Each year new creations debut on Paris and New York’s fashion runways, setting style trends for the coming year. When the scene is repeated next season, the current “must-have” party gowns soon become aging fashion statements, finding their way to thrift shops and on-line markets for buyers of vintage or Halloween party attire and finally disappearing altogether.

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Reducing conflict through entrepreneurial activity

Economic development within ethical framework more effective than aid.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

Reducing armed conflict and providing economic opportunity are goals that go hand in hand, the founder of War Child Canada and War Child USA says.Samantha Nutt keynote MEDA convention 2017Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of War Child

“You can’t have development without peace, and you can’t have peace without development,” Dr. Samantha Nutt said in a plenary address to MEDA’s annual convention in Vancouver.

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