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MEDA's expertise includes a full range of economic development tools: financial services, improved technology, business training, better access to markets and equity investment. Our work most often focuses on women, youth and people living in poverty in rural areas.

We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to earn a livelihood and that unleashing entrepreneurship is a powerful way to alleviate poverty.

Areas of Expertise

Market Systems

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Since our inception over 65 years ago, MEDA has worked with small entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises and large firms to improve livelihoods and wellbeing by building and strengthening business foundations and contracts. We design solutions that can be duplicated and scaled, enabling entrepreneurs to reach local and global markets and grow their business. We promote innovative business models, promote relationships with new suppliers and new distributors, identify new products, markets and channels to market, leverage targeted subsidies and encourage the participation of underserved populations. We also address market network challenges such as policies, environmental practices and gender inequalities that hinder growth of all businesses.

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Investment

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MEDA is a recognized leader in the area of blended finance. Small and medium enterprises – the engines that drive economic growth in developing markets – need investment capital to flourish. “Blended finance” – leveraging public and philanthropic funding to attract private capital – is critical to enterprise growth and benefits women, youth, and vulnerable populations. MEDA provides assistance to enhance the impact of investments and help entrepreneurs build profitable businesses serving poorer customers, reducing investor risk. It can include challenge grants, mentoring, training and development of a network of organizations involved in the delivery of a product or service (ecosystem). Our commitment to gender lens investing considers benefits to women while investing for a financial return.

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Gender Equality and Social Inclusion

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MEDA is on the forefront of empowering women and youth as drivers of economic and social change. We aim to reduce social and systemic barriers to their ability to earn a dignified livelihood by starting and running a business.This includes facilitating access to markets and financial services and providing information on how to start or grow a business so they can help themselves and their families. We work with diverse partners, particularly in the private sector, to link these vulnerable and sometimes isolated people-groups to associations and other organizations where they can meet and learn from other entrepreneurs, build skills and share ideas.

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Financial Services

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Since the 1980’s MEDA has pioneered solutions to ensure more people have access to banking and insurance, playing a critical role in the development of rural financial institutions in Tajikistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Haiti, Jamaica, Mozambique and Nicaragua. In the last 10 years, we have provided technical assistance to over 40 microfinance institutions and banks in 22 countries, encouraging the development of products focused on underserved women and men. Poor and struggling households can upgrade or expand their business activities to better provide for their families. We also specialize in technology for financial transactions, community-based savings and lending, and support services for micro to medium-sized enterprises.

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