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2019 3 May June The20Marketplace201The Marketplace is published by Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), whose dual thrust is to encourage a Christian witness in business and to operate business-oriented programs of assistance to the poor.

The Marketplace (ISSN 0199-7130) is published bi-monthly by MEDA at 532 North Oliver Road, Newton, KS 67114. Periodicals postage paid at Newton, KS 67114. Lithographed in U.S.A. Copyright MEDA.

Editor: Mike Strathdee
Design: Ray Dirks

Change of address should be sent to MEDA, 595 Parkside Drive, Suite 2, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 0C7.

To e-mail an address change, subscription request or anything else relating to delivery of the magazine, please contact mstrathdee@meda.org

Space rates for advertising in The Marketplace.

Full page (or back cover which is roughly three-quarters of a page): $845
Half page (7 and one-eighth inches wide, by 4 .75 inches high): $410 
One-third page: $280
One-quarter page  (3.5 inches wide by 4.75 inches high): $205

Here are the deadlines for advertising in The Marketplace in 2019:

Date of issue Order deadline Ad copy deadline
January/February Nov. 2, 2018 Nov. 23, 2018
March/April Jan. 4, 2019 Jan. 25, 2019
May/June March 1, 2019 March 22, 2019
July/August May 3, 2019 May 24, 2019
September/October July 5, 2019 July 26, 2019
November/December Sept. 6, 2019 Sept. 27, 2019

Order deadline means the date by which you have reserved ad space.

Ad copy deadline means the date by which finished, press-ready material is sent to the editor at mstrathdee@meda.org

Inserts: We do occasionally carry inserts from outside organizations. The advertiser is expected to provide camera-ready material to our printer well in advance, and will be billed directly for the production cost (plus a $1,000 insert fee).

Subscribing to Marketplace

All of our supporters receive Marketplace as a thank you for helping us bring hope, opportunity and economic well-being to millions of people around the world. Subscriptions: $30/year; $55/two years. Donate today!
Veemo is an elec- tric assisted ride- sharing vehicle

Evaluating people and crunching numbers key to success for New Hamburg man

Successful angel investing — providing funds to early stage companies — requires paying attention to details, expecting high financial returns and being okay with losing everything, Dale Brubacher Cressman says.

“You’ve got to go into it recognizing you could lose your entire investment,” says the New Hamburg man. “It’s not like any other investment. If you are not prepared to lose (all) the money, you shouldn’t be investing.”

Tim Penner discusses a convention program with board member Mryl Nofziger

Outgoing chair reflects on nine years with the MEDA board

When Tim Penner reflects on his MEDA involvements over the years, he uses words like exhilarating and opportunities.

“It’s so exhilarating that all of these great things have happened,” says the Kansas businessman.

Penner completes nine years on the board, most recently as chair, at MEDA’s annual meeting in Tucson in early November.

Javed Iqbal (on right), his wife Bushra (third from right) and their son (second from left) pose with red radishes along with PAVE team members.

Pakistan project helps farmers increase income through improved harvests

MEDA’s Partnerships and Value Expansion for Inclusive Seed Systems (PAVE Pakistan) project works to improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers from villages in the Sheikhupura and Gujranwala Districts of Punjab in eastern central Pakistan.

Punjab is the main agricultural province of Pakistan.

SheCycle team members, l-r: Anna Kuepfer, Abigail Loewen and Leah Wouda

Students persevere after unsuccessful pitch at MEDA competition, win larger prize

When a group of Waterloo university students presented their business idea at the MEDAx pitch competition last fall, they were surprised and disappointed not to win the $5,000 prize.

SheCycle aims to improve the health of Ugandan women with an antimicrobial, reusable sanitary pad.

Bananas along the road

Recent media reports say bananas — a breakfast and dessert staple for many — may soon be more expensive. A banana-killing fungus is threatening production in several countries.

Most of the bananas that North Americans eat come from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Columbia or Ecuador.

Ahmed Al Omari

Outfitter aims to make the Jordan Trail a go-to destination

Every year, hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers walk the Camino de Santiago, a network of trails that run through every major European city.

A lesser known, spectacular hiking experience is available on the 398-mile (640 kilometre) Jordan Trail that runs the length of Jordan.

Jordan Dolson of Legacy Greens

Owner of Kitchener grocery store promotes healthy choices

Jordan Dolson knows that merchandising choices she makes at her grocery store mean Legacy Greens is less profitable than it could be.

And she’s okay with that.

For Dolson, 35, providing healthy food options for her customers in Kitchener, ON is more important than padding the bottom line. “It’s more of a passion project than a way to get rich,” she says with a smile.

Business as a Calling Book Cover

Tim A. Dearborn is one of the keynote speakers at MEDA’s upcoming convention: Taking the Leap, to be held Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Arizona. The excerpt below is from his book: Business as a Holy Calling: A workbook for Christians in business and their pastors.

Renewables will bring power to a billion unserved Africans within a decade, experts say.

Renewable energy will likely bring power to many under-served areas of Africa within the next decade, industry observers say.

As many as a billion people, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, lack access to electricity. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #7 targets universal access to power by 2030.

Jake King enjoys living and working in rural Lancaster County.

Young entrepreneur pursues multiple vocations, finds community in MEDA connection

By Eileen R. Kinch

Ask Jake King what he does, and you might hear a variety of answers: freelance consultant, research analyst, copy writer, house husband, entrepreneur.

A Goshen, Indiana native, King graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2009 with a degree in English. His career has taken him to Wall Street, Lancaster County, and more recently, his own home office.

DN and ST right side upMEDA president Dorothy Nyambi (right) with IDE Canada president Stu Taylor during a visit to Winnipeg. Nyambi hopes the two development agencies will find ways to work together.

 

 

Read More in the Marketplace

Savings and loan groups help women and youth in rural Jordan

5 minute read

For many Jordanians, the ideas of saving, and using a bank to do so, are unfamiliar concepts.
People who earn money on a seasonal basis spend in the winter what they have earned in the summer. Wealthier Jordanians may save a significant portion of their income, investing in gold or land. Others just try to get by.

Ohio company ferries Amish to winter getaways in Florida

By JB Miller

While operating an automobile collision-repair business in the 1980’s, David Swartzentruber began renting vans to drivers who provided transportation services for the Holmes County, Ohio-area Amish.

During winter months, many of these vans were traveling to Pinecraft, a small community in Sarasota, Florida.

Ecolodge founder promotes experiential travel

5 minute read

Nabil Tarazi wants to move people’s vacations from sightseeing to sight doing, or experiential travel.


Tarazi, founder and managing director of EcoHotels, is also treasurer and an executive board member of the Global EcoTourism Network. The network encourages people to seek out destinations where their spending will support local communities and not just international hotel chains.

1 minute read

For MEDA and many other organizations in the international development sector, explaining how projects support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) is an ongoing and important part of telling their story.
The SDGs were set by the UN General Assembly in 2015, an effort to reach a series of targets by 2030. They cover social and economic development issues related to poverty, gender equality, climate action, decent work and economic growth and affordable and clean energy, among others.

Job creation with polished stones

Ethiopian project provides opportunities in gemstones

By Katie West


4 minute read

Ethiopia is an emerging economy with the potential to become an economic powerhouse in East Africa. It is also home to one of the largest opal reserves in the world. The country has deposits of over 40 coloured gemstones including aquamarine, jasper, agate, amethyst, emerald and more.

Since the discovery of the opal in the mid-1990s, Ethiopia has become the second-largest exporter of opals after Australia. Most of them are destined for China and India.

But the Ethiopian gemstone industry faces a challenge — the gap between the skills required on the job and the actual skills possessed by employees. This is a common problem across many industries throughout the continent.

Compost courier Tyrell Benton and Compost Winnipeg project manager Kelly Kuryk with bins and  machineryCompost courier Tyrell Benton and Compost Winnipeg project manager Kelly Kuryk with bins and machinery

Read More in the Marketplace

Ukrainian grape farmer with Mujtaba and MEDA staffMEDA staff visit a MEDA client at her table grape farm near Odessa, Ukraine, next to the Black Sea. From left to right: Mujtaba Ali, Dmytro Kratsov, farm owner Tetyana Smaglyuchenko and Alexandra Harmash

Read More in the Marketplace

DN and ST right side upMEDA president Dorothy Nyambi (right) with IDE president Stu Taylor during a visit to Winnipeg. Nyambi hopes the two development agencies will find ways to work together

Read More in the Marketplace

Everence researcher engages companies in social change

2 minute read

Chris Meyer dreams big dreams.

“I would love to see our global financial system be transformed into a more sustainable structure that accounts for the human and environmental impacts of our economy, not just the short-term financial effort,” says the Ohio man, who works as manager of stewardship investing research and advocacy for Everence Financial/Praxis Mutual Funds. “I hope to be part of that transformation.”

4 minute read

GOSHEN, IND — Investors who believe that the bottom line should include considerations of people and planet, as well as profit, have often fallen into one of two camps.

MEDA support helps Ecolodge provide employment for Bedouin community

5 minute read

Dana Biosphere Reserve, Jordan
Making a living in southern Jordan’s remote desert is not an easy task.
The Feynan Ecolodge, an environmentally-friendly tourist destination in a nature reserve, makes that a lot easier for people who live here.
At least 80 families, a total of 400 people, benefit directly or indirectly from the off-the-grid EcoLodge, whose 26 rooms can accommodate 60 guests.

Back Cover MkPL March2019

 

 ©2017, Saskatchewan Health Authority

Put the words Equality and Equity into your favorite web browser, and you are likely to find a range of images, some of them highly controversial,  depicting the difference between the two concepts.
Giving people the same tools or support when their life circumstances are different will result in varied outcomes, as the graphic above demonstrates.

Sidebar to Sam's Place article. From the March 2019 issue of The Marketplace magazine

By John Longhurst

We handle it every day, so we never think about how challenging our colorful money looks to non-Canadians.
Arshdeep Kaur knows.
The 23-year-old immigrated to Canada from India last summer with plans to attend college in fall.

Coffee shop provides youth with skills to become employable

By John Longhurst

Winnipeg, Man — It’s the morning lull at Sam’s Place, the time between the opening rush for coffee and the lunch crowd.
There are about a half-dozen people in the coffee shop, café and used bookstore — two women having a meeting, a student doing some studying, one or two people browsing the books, a mother and child playing in the games area at the back.
At the counter is Rachel Braun, making a coffee for a customer. The 14-year-old isn’t an employee. She’s a volunteer.

Former tech executive urges students to take values-based approach to business.

By Mike Strathdee

Christians in business must realize that achieving success is only the first of two important journeys in life, says the former chief operating officer of the company that created the smart phone.
Life’s first journey is building a career and becoming a growth junkie, committed to life-long learning, Don Morrison said in a speech to students at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, ON.

Economic development programs that focus on women’s needs can have a major positive impact on the lives of the clients, their families and their communities.
So says Su Sandar Koe, who works as gender co-ordinator for MEDA’s Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) project in Myanmar. While most economic development programs are not women focussed, IMOW is.

Improving the lives of vulnerable populations so that all people may experience God’s love sometimes requires moves to seek equity rather than just equality.
Achieving equity may require understanding of, and consideration of the concept of intersectionality.

Land tenure is a critical issue in efforts to build equity, MEDA discovered during its Greater Rural Opportunities for Women (GROW) project in Ghana. Land tenure “underpinned women’s ability to participate in agriculture, their agricultural productivity… and ultimately, their income.”
Women are far from being treated as equals in Ghana.

Improving women’s empowerment in a systemic way requires meaningfully engaging men in gender equity strategies.
During the Greater Opportunities for Rural Women (GROW) project in Ghana, MEDA realized it needed to engage men beyond their role as gatekeepers, turning them into allies in gender awareness raising. It also needed to ensure that men did not feel left behind by development efforts.

Jordanian woman becomes an entrepreneur with her husband's support

As Published in The Marketplace Magazine

By Dara Al Masri
My husband was my first customer”, says Intisar, a food entrepreneur selling pickles in an impoverished area in Jordan’s Balqa governorate, northwest of Amman.
To get to where she is today, Intisar had to get past a few barriers that usually stop women from entering the business world in Jordan. “I wanted to do something beneficial with my time,” says the 39-year-old mother of four.

Members of environment committee learn about the challenges facing farmer clients

By Dennis Tessier and Salihu Samuel Wamdeo
(Editor’s note: Several MEDA offices have Green Teams, volunteers who work on ways for the organization to be as environmentally responsible as possible.)
The Nigeria Green Team is an ambitious bunch. Most MEDA Nigeria staff have joined the team. They have started an office compost, plastic recycling program and a garden producing everything from passion fruit, tomatoes and hot chillies to groundnuts (peanuts).

B.C. event planner handles behind the scenes tasks at MEDA conventions

Ann-Michele Ewert works hard to be low-profile.
Not that the gregarious event planner is unhappy to chat.
It’s just that Ewert, who has helped organize MEDA’s annual Business as A Calling convention for 20 years, measures success by how well she can blend in. “If you do your job well, people don’t notice,” she says.

By Jeanne Bernick, KCoe Isom
Ask any consumer at the grocery store today what the average American farmer looks like, and the typical answer is: “A white male in his 50s.” While it’s true the average age of the American farmer is 58, according to USDA, if you dig more deeply you’ll find some surprising developments.
Women in Farming — By the
Numbers and Tasks
The number of women farmers has tripled since the 1970s. Now, according to the US Department of Agriculture, women make up just under one third of all farmers. More than a third of farm ground is owned by women and 62.7 million acres are farmed by women principal operators, according to the last US Census of Agriculture.

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.

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.

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.

Indiana businessman adapts to make his trailer firm
more efficient after losing a business

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

Eleven years ago, Steve Brenneman had two thriving businesses.

After starting Aluminum Trailer Company in 1999, he bought a small door manufacturing firm in Napanee, Ind.Steve Brenneman on ATC shop floorSteve Brenneman adopted lean production methods to help his trailer manufacturing firm grow

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.

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.

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.”

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

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.

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.

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.

University student wins MEDA 5K pitch competition with system to help visually impaired people

Hilary thank you for MEDAx winAs Published in The Marketplace Jan-Feb 2019

Hillary Scanlon doesn’t want vision loss to prevent people from sustainably disposing their waste.

Scanlon, a 23-year-old Wilfrid Laurier University student, has a personal stake in the issue.

To passersby, Everence Financial’s main office, a few blocks out of Goshen’s downtown core, looks like many other modern commercial buildings.

Only the sign listing the businesses working under the Everence corporate umbrella gives any hint of the complexity of an organization that includes a trust company, the Praxis mutual funds firm, and the Everence Federal Credit Union.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

Shannon sermon Sunday morning at convention 2As printed in The Marketplace - 2019 - January/February

People under-estimate their ability to be a healing presence in the world, Shannon Dycus says.

“We know — what MEDA embodies — is that there are many significant ways to make impact upon the lives of burdened people,” she said.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

Pixar president shares thoughts on getting the best from teams

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Businesses that don’t let employees take risks and disapprove of failure will never get the best from their teams, the head of the Pixar movie studio told a recent technology conference in Kitchener.Ed Catmull best needs fingers airbrushed out of back projection 2Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios

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.

CDD WORKER WITH SEEDLINGS 3 Women make up most of the workforce at Caffe Del Duca’s seedling nursery. Photos by Mike Strathdee

Kenyan firm helps farmers grow beans amidst changing weather patterns

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

THIKA, KENYA — Arabica is the most popular coffee variety in the world, accounting for three-quarter of worldwide production by some estimates.

Scott MortonScott Morton Ninomiya

Inspiration from the Global South

By Scott Morton Ninomiya

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Fossil fuels power our world in 2018: they heat my home and transport my family — probably yours too. The global story of fossil fuels is a tale of great wealth, progress and development. But recent plot twists are revealing big holes in this story.

2 Rehema and Martha KisangaRehema and Martha Kisanga grow over a dozen different crops on their three-acre farm.

MEDA partnership helps with irrigation, training

2 polinating by handVanilla flowers must be pollinated by hand.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Like many Tanzanian farmers, Martha Kisanga has a lot on the go.

She grows a dozen crops on her three-acre property in Lyamungo Village in the Machame area of Tanzania.

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.

MEDA field manager Stephen Magige in Cassava fieldMEDA field manager Stephen Magige in cassava field.

Not Just an Environmental Issue

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

By Tariq Deen

When we think about climate change we tend to focus on the environmental aspect — extreme weather, flooding, sea level rise.

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.

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.”

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

Restricting migrant workers to save jobs could have the opposite effect, pushing agri-food work out of North America to other countries.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 pg10

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.

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.

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.”

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.

Helping women in one of poorest countries of the world

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

Allan Sauder AGM Speech 2017

MEDA is working to help 25,000 women in Myanmar, but is not involved in areas of the country where violence and conflict are occurring, president Allan Sauder told supporters at the organization’s annual convention.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is in transition from decades of political and economic isolation, and remains one of the poorest countries in the world, he said. MEDA’s ongoing work assists women in Shan and Kayin States to grasp new economic opportunities, primarily in agricultural markets.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

Record donations from supporters, assisting 91 million families and praise from government funders were highlights of the past year at MEDA, the organization’s annual meeting heard.

Supporters set a record in private contributions to MEDA for the second year in a row, totaling $6.5 million US, president Allan Sauder said.

Allan Sauder AGM Speech 2017A

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

The Christian view that giving should be kept secret is based on misunderstanding of two Bible verses resulting in a “secrecy doctrine” that we need to get past, a Manitoba businessman and former pastor argues.

Most Christians don’t understand the Bible passage they cite in arguing that giving should be kept secret, Peter Dueck says. “I would like us to get past this secrecy doctrine.”

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Neil Denison of MEDA’s Waterloo office shared the reflection below during a Sept. 11 staff meeting.

 19 Neil 002

People are prone to do awful things when they lose hope. When they see no future. When they can find no opportunities.

What resonates deeply with me about MEDA’s mission is our desire to help people see hope in their communities, to find the opportunities for a better life and future. MEDA’s mission is a practical expression of Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Company develops robots to clear deadly land mines

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

3 Christan Lee and Richard YimCompany develops robots to clear deadly land mines

For Richard Yim, building a business to speed up the elimination of land mines is neither just a good business opportunity nor an abstract idea for making the world a better place.

Yim knows firsthand the human cost of leftover bombs from bygone wars. He and his family came to Canada from Cambodia when he was 13, five years after losing an aunt to a land mine. It’s still something that the family struggles to understand.

Helping women get access to tools for farming success

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017woman with planter in Ghana

MEDA is building on its successful work with women farmers in northern Ghana with a new initiative, the GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) Technology Fund.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017Elaine and MiriamElaine Shantz and Miriam Turnbull

Elaine Shantz and Miriam Turnbull took a long hike this summer, raising over $123,000 in the process to lift women farmers in Ghana out of poverty.

Head of Virginia firm sees success through flexibility, trust

By Jesse Huxman

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Devon Anders is all about building relationships. Anders is CEO of InterChange Group, a Harrisonburg, Va-based logistics firm. From the outside, you might think the business is just a warehouse company. It’s really about relationships.

Devon grew up in a Mennonite family near Souderton, Penn. Much of his business education came from watching how his father, a banker, treated others. “I learned that it was about treating people right. …My approach has always been, ‘Hey I’m going to try to be upfront with where I’m at with you, and I want you to do the same back to me.”Devon Anders

GreenHouse helps students build skills, test dreams.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017TaniaTania Del Matto

Tania Del Matto has a ringside seat on the next generation of people who want to change the world.

As director of the St. Paul’s Uni- versity College GreenHouse program, she walks alongside students who want to start businesses or non-profits, as well as folks who have an idea that they don’t know what to do with.

Centre for Peace Advancement has helped non-profits and businesses

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Several registered charities — Pastors in Exile (an Anabaptist-rooted movement that connects young people in Waterloo Region with vibrant faith experiences outside and inside of church walls) and Theatre of the Beat (a travelling social justice theatre troupe) re-organized or developed their existing structure through work with Conrad Grebel University College’s Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement.

Centre for Peace Advancement supports peace entrepreneurs

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017Paul 2 with Grebel logo backgroundHeidebrecht is energized by mentoring young people who are committed to change.

Paul Heidebrecht is a different kind of business coach.

Heidebrecht is director of the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement, an inter-disciplinary organization that takes multi-sector approaches to the advancement of peace.

In a region that has many organizations working to encourage and support business start-ups in a variety of sectors, CPA is unique. It is currently the only university-based program in the world supporting peace-building related start-ups.

Steve Schroeder has found the transition to the business world to be “way harder than being a pastor.”5 Steve Schroeder

 

Practical solutions, integrity, building trust

By Allan Sauder

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

One of the things MEDA holds very important is our values. For us, it’s a faith-based value system that calls us to unleash what we believe is God-given potential in all people to earn a livelihood.Girl with Apricots Tajikistan 6 049

Faith prints, wisdom exchanges part of TourMagination trips.

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

Even in her childhood, travel was a passion for Audrey Voth Petkau.

“I always had a dream to see the world,” she recalls. “I remember early on, looking at a map of the world, and pointing to Switzerland, and saying, some day, I’m going to get there.”Audrey pita shotPetkau enjoys local hospitality in Ak Metchet, Uzbekistan in 2013

MEDA staff encounter a variety of experiences during travels to countries where the agency works. As these stories show, trips can take unexpected turns.

Planes, strains and automobiles

Of all the travel MEDA president Allan Sauder has done with MEDA over the past three decades, the scariest took place on a visit to Peru 20 years ago.

Sauder and his wife, Donna, were visiting agribusiness projects in Peruvian jungles. After travelling all day to the main airport in Lima, they met a driver who would take them to a small airstrip atop the Andes. From there they would fly into the jungle to visit a palm heart project.Alan and Donna SauderAllan and Donna Sauder

Tech innovators, charities need to understand each other to tackle social problems

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

Rapidly increasing wealth and inequality in North American high-tech hubs is forcing charities to reach out to technology entrepreneurs for solutions to societal problems as well as donations.

That new, uncomfortable reality means that both sides need to understand each other’s challenges, a forum on technology and inequality in Kitchener, Ont. heard recently.

The event was held at the offices of Vidyard, a fast-growing firm which provides a platform that helps companies analyze the performance of their online sales videos. It was organized by FaithTech, a nascent movement operating in three tech clusters across Canada (Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto and Vancouver).

Armed conflicts reinforced by social instability

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

By Mike Strathdee

Dr. Samantha Nutt, the founder of War Child Canada, is one of the keynote speakers at MEDA’s upcoming convention: Building Bridges to Enduring Livelihoods — Business as a Calling 2017, to be held November 2-5 in Vancouver, B.C.

The excerpt below is from her book: Damned Nations: Greed, Guns Armies & Aid.

Business shows “everybody wins” when a country embraces newcomers.

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

HALIFAX — A Syrian refugee says his family’s thriving chocolate business should serve as an example of the value of Canadian “openness” in a world that has increasingly closed off its borders to refugees.12975869

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

Southwestern Ethiopia reveals an entire value chain at work. First, there’s the cotton plants along the road, their bolls bursting like popcorn. Village women spin the fibres into yarn. In the next town people bleach the yarn pure white so it will better accept dye.010 Werkinesh 01

As Printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

Welcome to So What?, a periodic look at MEDA’s long-term impact around the world. What really changed as a result of our development efforts? What got better for families and communities? This issue looks at the EDGET program in Ethiopia, which ran from 2010 to 2016.'

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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.

Feeding the spirit, feeding the hungry — for Bob Engbrecht, both are God’s will

As printed in The Marketplace July/August 2017

For many people, one “calling” in life is enough. Bob Engbrecht has had two — one to pastoral ministry, the other to feeding the world.

Today, at age 78, Engbrecht has retired from one but not both.bob

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.

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.

As featured in The Marketplace - 2015 - May/June:

Civil disruption has not deterred MEDA from working in global hotspots. The following edited report from a strife-torn region suggests what it’s like to work amid constant danger. For reasons of security the MEDA staffer and her location are not identified.

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.

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.

As featured in The Marketplace - 2016 - November/December

German firm rolls out the welcome mat for refugees

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35 NRSV).

Horsch Logo

It requires a company of angels to keep any single one of us in the life to which we are accustomed. We are each like a tightrope walker who thinks she’s balancing by sheer skill, only to find a forest of hands supporting each end of her horizontal pole and some gentle shoulders keeping her ankles steady.

1 minute readBaptism site Dalla Steiner shot bestAl-Maghtas is a United Nations World Heritage site in southern Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and carried out his ministry. Pope John Paull II named it as the top site Christian pilgrims should visit - photo by Dallas Steiner

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.”
(Matt 3: 13, New International Version)

This site, Bethany beyond the Jordan, was visited by Pope John Paul II in March 2000, and named by him as the number one of eight holy sites that all Christians should try to visit.

Christians should care about equity in the workplace

By Joanna Meyer
Men and women work side by side, wrestling with the same business challenges, attending the same meetings, and walking the same hallways. But as a recent Wall Street Journal article suggests, the common ground ends there:

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

By Jeff Haanen 

I think there are at least three signs we can see in our lives when we make work an idol.

1. Exhaustion.
Always busy, and always tired. That’s the way many Americans live out their lives. Often, I’m the worst offender. Do one more text in the car (at a stoplight, of course);
get in one more email; go in early; stay late. Squeeze in a bit more on the weekends.

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Nov-Dec. 2018

By Deidra Riggs

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been the one sitting in the office chair behind a desk, facing a potential employee, and trying to figure out whether or not that person in the chair would be a good fit for your organization. You’ve been on the other side of the desk, too: the potential employee, trying to anticipate the questions you’d be asked by this potential employer.

Everyone is looking for something, aren’t we?istock employee interview photo for Soul Enterprise pg. 4 November 2018 issue The Marketplaceistockphoto lafor

Employers want to know their risk will pay off if they hire you. Employees want to know they’ll be treated fairly, paid an honest wage, and given the opportunity to exercise their gifts while learning new skills and being treated with respect.

The internet is teeming with advice for those on either side of the interview desk. Advice for the interviewee includes what to wear, what to share about your strengths and weaknesses, whether or not you should talk with your hands or leave them folded in your lap.

Missional Economics coverMissional Economics: Biblical Justice and Christian Formation
By Michael Barram (Wm. E Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018, 283 pp, $26 US)

As printed in The Marketplace magazine

 If North American Christians are guilty of biblical illiteracy, nowhere is this more so than in our failure to wrestle with and grasp God’s intentions around economics.

Most of us, Michael Barram argues, “are, at best, only vaguely aware of what the Bible has to say about economic issues related to justice and Christian discipleship.”

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

pointing fingersBy David Rupert

Each summer, as a teenager headed for college, I was determined to make as much money as possible. My dad, a roofer, needed the help. There were perks:  free transportation in Dad’s ‘52 Chevy, a lunch packed by mom, and a paycheck that didn’t bounce.

Reality is, I wasn’t a good roofer. My lines were often crooked and, if left uncorrected, would ruin the run of shingles going all the way up the house. My patient dad would help me rip up the offending row, and we’d start over.

Spiritual discernment starved in digital dessert

By Ron Tinsley

As printed in The Marketplace - July/August 2018 .

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Anyone who thinks technology has no impact on spiritual formation is mistaken, Ron Tinsley says

“The Bible consistently warns us about where we fix our gaze and how we direct our desires, he says. “From the golden calf in the Old Testament to Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, where we focus our inclinations tells others what is important to us. As Christians, our focus should be on Jesus and the Spirit he promised us.”

Abundant leisure time and media stimuli provide many more distractions than ancient peoples faced, he notes. “This can draw us away from the rich oasis of experiencing God and increasingly into a digital desert of distractions. Many of them are coming through technology.”

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in the Marketplace - July/August 2018

book cover God Art of Improv Soul Enterprise July 2018Speaking in public tops the list of many people’s greatest fears.

Getting up in front of a room full of strangers and doing improv — a performance made up on the spot — is something that can challenge even people used to public speaking.God, Improv And The Art of Living By MaryAnn McKibben Dana (Wm. E Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2018, 230 pp, $21.99 US)

The skills of a good improv artist are things we can all benefit from learning, and are applicable to far more than stand-up comedy, MaryAnn McKibben Dana says.

The author, who is a pastor and student of improv, suggests that we are all improvisers. Recognizing this truth can help us in decision making and many life endeavours, at work, in church, or just around the people we interact with every day.

The book outlines three types of improvisers, all of whom are as useful in companies, congregations and other groups as they are in onstage situations: Pirates, robots and ninjas.

We need all these characters in our lives, in the proper ratios.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

IMG 5939Professor describes a redemptive approach to the art of persuasion.

By Dan Galenkamp

Ask the average consumer about their ideas on business, and they’ll likely describe it as profit-oriented and self-serving, tainted by greed and excess. Marketing — the industry of persuasion — is often perceived as having no moral criteria, as taking advantage of people and encouraging destructive consumerism. Marketing carries heavy baggage.
There is a need to develop both a theology of marketing and a framework for teaching, researching and practicing it ethically. In other words: how can God’s shalom redeem the art of persuasion? Prof. Laurie Busuttil, assistant professor and chair of Redeemer’s Business department, examined how the purpose of marketing has gradually become misaligned with the practice in her tenure paper and presentation, Marketing: Exchanging What Is for What Should Be.

Book calls believers to gain wealth for good

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

In recent years, several authors have suggested that pastors who fail to preach regularly about money, (sermons where the focus is other than giving) are committing clergy malpractice.

Given that more of Jesus’ teachings dealt with material things and work than any other topic, it’s not difficult to agree with the malpractice theory.

Yet many pastors are given precious little, if any, teaching about personal finance or economics during their Bible college or seminary studies. Significant numbers arrive at their first ministry post with crushing student debt. Neither of those life experiences serve them well in meeting the needs and expectations of the people they are called to serve.

 

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017LoveLetGo cov 9780802874474Love Let Go — radical generosity for the real world By Laura Sumner Truaz & Amalya Campbell (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2017, 203 pp. $21.99 US)

Imagine being part of a hand-to-mouth urban church serving the disadvantaged, when a $1.6 million windfall from the sale of a nearby housing complex falls into your lap.

Think about how you would feel as you and your fellow congregants were told of a decision to distribute $100,000 to people in the pews — $500 each — to “go out and do good in God’s world.”

Amman apartments best

 FEL Desert rugged DAM Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan is an amazing country of stunning beauty. An oasis of stability in a region where armed conflict is a regular occurrence, this desert nation hosts the second-largest number of refugees per capita in the world.

Like the old story about engineers pronouncing that bumblebees shouldn’t be able to fly, first-time observers watch and wonder.

As printed in The Marketplace March-April 2019

March 8 is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #Balance for Better.
Balance is not a women’s issue, but rather a business issue, the campaign suggests. “Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.”
Creating business solutions to poverty by providing economic empowerment to vulnerable populations, including women and youth, is a major focus of MEDA’s work.

If there was an award for perseverance in presenting at a MEDA convention, Rose Mutuku of Smart Logistics Solutions would be the hands-down winner. Mutuku, a MEDA lead firm partner who flew in from Nairobi to be part of several panel discussions in Indianapolis (see story, pg. 12), showed up under extremely difficult circumstances.Mutuku and Ghimire shot for Roadside StandRose Mutuku with MEDA staffer Nikesh Ghimire

A few months earlier, she suffered a manufacturing accident, breaking her arm and hand in more than 20 places. Despite being in considerable pain and requiring some assistance, she cheerfully took part in tours, conversations and multiple presentations over the weekend, then travelled on to Ottawa for sessions with Canadian government officials. You can watch the latter presentation on the web, at vimeo.com/302144477

Former Canadian governor general David Johnston gives a shout-out to Waterloo County values of collaboration, sharing and mutual aid in his new book Trust (see review, pg. 20).

In a chapter entitled Be a Barn raiser, he notes that: “Neighbors who help each other with no expectation of immediate return build more trusting communities.”

As president of the University of Waterloo, Johnston and his wife Sharon owned Chatterbox Farm, a 100-acre property and horse stable north of the city. The Johnstons were impressed by the giving nature of their Old Order neighbors. “When a spirit of barn raising exists in a community, the community is a trusting one and, as a result, a strong and resilient one,” he writes.

“All community members trust in the knowledge — grounded in generations of experience — that they will step up to help a neighbor in need, and that their neighbors stand ready to help them if and when their time of need arrives.”
“While the Mennonites’ method of community self-reliance is founded on faith, it is one that neighbors in any community can emulate.”

Just prior to leaving Waterloo for Ottawa in 2010, the Johnstons helped to create the Barn Raisers council, a group of community leaders who met regularly to focus on long-range projects to improve community health. That effort also spawned an annual Barn Raiser award to recognize local leaders who demonstrate that community spirit.

MEDA’s new president

Incoming MEDA president Dr. Dorothy Nyambi (see profile, pp. 6-7) brings much relevant experience to the post that will serve the organization well in coming years.

Bilingual in French and English, she is well connected in the international development sector. She has considerable public speaking experience, both at conferences around the world and service clubs across Canada. During her time with the Canadian Executive Services Organization, she recalls speaking in Red Deer, Alta., Nunavut in Canada’s north, and St. Catharines, ON, to name a few.

Two of Dorothy and her husband David’s three children share her interest in medicine.

Their oldest son, Trevor, is a nursing student. Daughter Agatha works at an HIV research program in Toronto. Youngest son, David Jr., is a financial analyst with the Oshweken First Nations reserve, not far from the family home in Ancaster.

During a conversation with her shortly after her appointment, I was impressed by her thoughtful responses to a range of questions. While she thinks that “there is no one organization that has all the answers,” she also believes that not enough people know about MEDA.

She is clearly a collaboratively minded leader. When asked about leadership, she quotes the president of Rwanda, who when asked what he would do if he was (Facebook founder and philanthropist) Mark Zuckerburg, replied, “I don’t want to be Mark Zuckerburg. I want to create thousands of Mark Zuckerburgs.”

She appreciated the thoughtfulness of that answer, recognizing that more can be done by many people working together than as one person alone.

The Nyambis have lived in Canada for 17 years, first in the cities of Markham and North York in the Greater Toronto area. They moved to their current home 1.5 years ago.
 -MS

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Vanessa HoferVanessa HoferBrnjas head shotChris BrnjasMEDA recently hired two people for its fundraising team, one an existing staffer who will be familiar to some supporters, the other new to the organization.

Vanessa Hofer, who has worked in MEDA’s Lancaster office since August 2017, assumes the new position of associate development officer, working with mid-level US donors. Hofer, a Goshen College grad, is an actor who has also worked as a theater instructor, writer and editor.

In Canada, Chris Brnjas joins the Waterloo, ON office in a similar associate development role. Brnjas, a Conrad Grebel University College alumnus, previously co-founded the Pastors in Exile non-profit, which works mostly with Mennonite young adults.

He has also worked at the Centre for Community Based Research as a research assistant and at Grebel as the interim student services program Assistant. -MS

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Sarah Kessy, founder of Tanzanian food products manufacturer Halisi Products (see pg. 14) is an amazing woman, one of many people you will benefit from hearing at MEDA’s annual convention in Indianapolis in November. A MEDA tour group that visited her facility in January was both impressed and surprised by what they saw. With all of the product lines being processed at the facility, where does she find the time to raise chickens that run around the property, or deal with the fish pond, a member of our group asked.

Both of those initiatives, unrelated to Halisi, are there to show her workers that it can be done and encourage them to start their own home businesses, she replied.

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Sam PasupalakMany successful entrepreneurs can tell stories about failures or setbacks that preceded their eventual success. Sometimes the scale of the difference between the two can be breathtaking.

david johnstonDiscussions about the effects of innovation and technology on society can draw sharply contrasting reactions, depending on the context.

For every example of promise of helping people’s lives there is a tale of peril, often resulting from unintended consequences.

I recently heard a cybersecurity expert warn that unless proper controls are put in place for appliances connected by the internet of things, hackers may one day use your toaster for an electronic attack.

In the information technology world, the dominance of a handful of companies means that “never before have we been confronted with megalithic corporations owning so much of our daily experience,” says Loren Padelford of e-commerce firm Shopify.

IMG 3178As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

For people scratching out a living subsistence farming, climate change isn’t some abstract future theory. It’s already having significant, often detrimental impacts on their livelihoods.

Farmers in Kenya and Tanzania (like Martha Kisanga, profiled on pg. 13) find it increasingly difficult to grow crops without irrigation. Many can’t afford the means of doing so.

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

Here are some observations about a recent trip to East Africa to visit MEDA projects in Kenya and Tanzania. Stories about these projects will appear in this issue and the next.

East Africans must, of necessity, be among the most entrepreneurial people in the world. A pleasant shoeshine man encountered in the airport in Addis Ababa has taught ancient history at the post-secondary level for 16 years, but finds it easier to support his spouse and four children by cleaning loafers for travellers at $2.99 US a pop than hoping that his teacher’s salary will arrive.

BED ON BIKE

 

The most humorous, also somewhat sad, story told at MEDA’s recent convention in Vancouver came from presenter Tareq Hadhad, who is featured on the cover of this issue. Hadhad, who was pursuing medical studies in Damascus before his family was forced to leave Syria due to the civil war, recalls being told that in Toronto, it is safer to have a heart attack in a taxi than in a hospital. Why is that, you may ask? It’s because 90 per cent of the cabbies in that city were physicians in their homeland, but are unable to get their credentials recognized in Canada, Hadhad was told. Here’s hoping this very intelligent, thoughtful and well-spoken young man gets back to studying medicine sooner rather than later.

As printed in The Marketplace - Jan/Feb 2018

Ray Dirks, a Winnipeg artist and gallery curator who has designed these pages for more than 32 years, was recently honored, along with a long-time colleague, by Manitoba’s Lieutenant Governor for advancing interreligious understanding.

Several speakers at MEDA’s November convention in Vancouver drew attention to one of Jesus’s most famous admonitions.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Businesses have been practicing corporate social responsibility for over 500 years, The Atlantic magazine argues. “The Ben & Jerry’s of Medieval Times” story says that while benefits corporations (B Corps.) — companies whose mission includes the welfare of their workers, society and the environment — only caught on in 2007, there is considerable evidence of “compassionate capitalism” dating back to the Middle Ages.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017

While putting together the cover package about Audrey Voth Petkau and TourMagination, I came across an article on Christian Week’s website that touts the spiritual benefits of travel. In the piece, Benjamin L. Corey argues that travelling exposes us to the fullness of God’s creation and can expand our heart’s capacity to love others.

By Carolyn Burns

Clean Money Revolution: Reinventing Power, Purpose and Capitalism by Joel Solomon, with Tyee Bridge (New Society Publishers, 2018. 288pp., $19.99 US)CleanMoney Cat4inch dark

Put your money where your heart is. Give yourself permission to invest in what you care about.”
That creed is what makes investor Joel Solomon’s The Clean Money Revolution such a transformative read.

By Mark A. Kellner, Religion
News Service
Wanamaker’s Temple: The Business of Religion in an Iconic Department Store by Nicole C. Kirk (NYU Press, 2018,288 pp., $35US)
(RNS) — During his lifetime, John Wanamaker built two megachurches.
One tried to save souls.
Another sold clothes, jewelry and perfume.

As Published in The Marketplace magazine

By Eileen R. Kinch

Imagine It Forward by Beth Comstock (Random House Canada: Bee- Com Media LLC, 2018 416 pp., $30 US)Imagine it Forward

A mixture of memoir, how-to, and inspiration, Imagine It Forward describes Beth Comstock’s journey of becoming vice president of corporate communications and advertising and then head of marketing and innovation at General Electric (GE). Comstock shares personal stories, offers suggestions for cultivating imagination and innovation in a corporate setting, and encourages readers to imagine and to work for change in their lives and careers.

“I’ve been courting change my entire career,” Comstock writes. This began with a personal crisis. Then, as a single parent, Comstock moved to New York City to continue her work in public relations. Later she accepted a position at the GE headquarters. Her first major task was to make sure the financial world was watching as Jack Welch named his successor, Jeff Immelt. Her second major task (and accomplishment) was to produce hopeful advertising for GE in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Change involves risk. Comstock challenged her GE colleagues to look toward the future by developing and investing in clean energy and digital technology before these were accepted realities. Daring to imagine new ideas went against the grain of GE’s corporate culture, which prefers predictable, deliverable results. Many of her colleagues were fearful to try something unproven. To create a culture of innovation, Comstock co-initiated Imagination Breakthroughs, a program that allowed GE companies to propose and test new ideas in a protected setting. Failed ideas would not impact the company’s earnings or an employee’s performance evaluation. Creativity is needed, on all levels, to adapt to changing times.

Innovation, however, must also be managed. As a result of one of the Imagination Breakthroughs, GE built a $100 million factory to produce sodium batteries that could be used to back up generators. Unfortunately, Comstock pointed out, “there was no single market segment big enough to accommodate all those batteries.” GE had only considered developing good technology, not the overall market picture. From this failure, Comstock created GE Ventures and a structure for evaluating projects. GE then began to experiment with small-scale changes, and a growth board would meet every 90 days to review projects. If a project was not working, then it could be discontinued before incurring major loss.

Comstock’s desire to use imagination and innovation (channeling Thomas Edison, GE’s founder) was not welcomed by everyone. In fact, it sometimes created open tension with her colleagues. Comstock’s advice is to embrace tension as part of the creative process, as uncomfortable as it might feel.

Imagine It Forward is rich in advice on how to cultivate and test new ideas in a business setting. The corporate culture of the large companies Comstock describes, however, is brutal. Perhaps something to be learned from her book is that measuring success only in terms of financial gain is also a failure of imagination. Making money to maintain power and status without also working toward the flourishing of relationships and all creation might be an empty enterprise. ◆

Eileen R. Kinch is a freelance writer in Lancaster County, PA.

TRUST book jacket imageTrust: Twenty Reliable Ways to Build a Better Country by David Johnston (Signal/McClelland & Stewart, 2018 222 pp, $22.95 US, $29.95 Canadian)

To call David Johnston’s life accomplishments impressive is an understatement.

A graduate of Harvard, Cambridge and Queen’s universities, Johnston has been a law professor, dean of the Queen’s law school, head of two Canadian universities, and Governor General of Canada (from 2010 to 2017). He has also written or co-authored numerous books.

If, as he hints in this thought-provoking volume, he is at age 77 “on the last leg of my life’s journey,” Trust may be his most enduring contribution to public discourse. Given the well-considered arguments he makes in this book, this reader hopes there will be many more to come.

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

ValueOfEverythingBy Henry Friesen

The Value of Everything: Who Makes and Who Takes from the Real Economy by Mariana Mazzucato (PublicAffairs, 2018 368 pp, $28 US, $36.50 Canadian)

If you believe the world’s economies are working just like they should, don’t bother reading this book. If it has never troubled you that the chief executive officers of the Fortune 500, (the five hundred most profitable US industrial corporations), earn more than 300 times the average worker’s wage, or that the estimated wealth of the world’s 62 richest people in 2015 was equal to that of the bottom 3.5 billion, this book will just annoy you. But the book is a must-read if you’ve been concerned by the inequities in mature economies that seem to grow unchecked.

surviving failure

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Surviving Failure (and a few Successes) By Merle Good (Walnut Street Books, 2018, 184 pp., $14.99 US, $19.99 Cdn)

It’s one thing to fail in business; quite another to talk openly about it.

Merle Good and his wife Phyllis suffered the ignominy twice in more than four decades. His new book boldly strips bare the raw impact of seeing a beloved enterprise on the ropes and offers counsel for others on the same journey.

As printed in The Marketplace - September/October 2017This I Know book cover for pg

This I Know: Marketing Lessons From Under the Influence. By Terry O’Reilly (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2017, 320 pp. $34 CDN.)

Terry O’Reilly is a master storyteller. Even people who are uninterested in the worlds of radio advertising, marketing and branding are drawn to his tales about corporate successes and failures.

In This I Know, O’Reilly has drawn on more than three decades of award-winning advertising production, and 12 years of radio shows to put together a book brimming with fascinating insights about successful positioning, messaging, branding and customer service.

WorldofThreeZerosBy JoAnn Flett

A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions.
By Muhammad Yunus (Public Affairs, 2017, 304 pp., $28 US)

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

A World of Three Zeros adds to the literature promoting social business. A social business is “a non-dividend company dedicated to solving human problems,” says Yunus, winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, and author of several other titles on the topic.

9781681775968 Archipalego coverBy Dennis Tessier

The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change
By Gleb Raygorodetsky (Pegasus Books, 2017 336pp, $28.95 US)

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

This book is a compelling account of indigenous people’s experiences with climate change. The author collects and weaves together the stories of Indigenous peoples; from the Gwich’in reindeer herders and Skolt salmon fishermen of Finland, the Nenets of the Yamal region of Russia and Altai people of the sacred Altai mountainous region of Russia, to the Sapara of the Amazon, the Karen in Thailand, and the Tla-o-qui-aht of British Columbia.  

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

It was not surprising to see recently, a major Christian magazine asking in a cover story whether the gift of cash Janah GIVE WORK final cover(instead of material items or programs) would help alleviate poverty issues, as suggested by some experts on the issue. It is not surprising because the matter of poverty has been one that our society has sought to get rid of since man began to populate the earth.

Applying spiritual principles for secular success

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - January/February 2018

Soar and The Hollywood Commandments are books about applying spiritual principles to entrepreneurial success. Both men are New York Times bestselling authors who testify that their career path is directed by their Christian faith.

Soar book coverSoar! -Build Your Vision from the Ground Up By T.D. Jakes (FaithWords Hachette Book Group, 2017 239 pp., $25 US)

Hollywood Commandments book coverThe Hollywood Commandments -A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success By DeVon Franklin with Tim Vandehey (HarperOne 2017, 248 pp., $25.99 US).

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Nov-Dec. 2018

Seattle Pacific University is producing a fascinating project that will be of interest to anyone who shares the MEDA vision of doing business in a manner that is informed by their faith.

Faith & Co: Business on Purpose, is a series of short films about companies, shaped by, and living into, a faith-inspired vision of business, says professor Kenman Wong, who teaches business ethics at Seattle Pacific. The goal of the project is to inspire Christian business people to more deeply align their work with God’s redemptive activity in the world.

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Close to 60 people from across southern Ontario spent five days in mid-July hiking the southern section of the Bruce Trail to raise money for MEDA’s Nigeria Way project.

MEDA has a five-year project in Nigeria’s Bauchi state to promote youth entrepreneurship and women’s empowerment. The Nigeria work, which began in 2017, is a $15 million project funded largely by Global Affairs Canada, with a $1.1 million contribution from MEDA.

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

As many as 12,000 street vendors are causing major headaches for Nairobi politicians and businesses as they clog roadways, sidewalks, entrances to businesses and even churches. A profile in Kenya’s The Standard newspaper entitled “Hawking nation” refers to the swarms of mobile hawkers as a street menace. The peddlers show no regard for rules or others, the article states.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

How soon will fully autonomous vehicles be in widespread use?

It depends who you ask.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Fed up with violent crime in their community and the inability of authorities to do much about it, avocado farmers in Aguacate Sur, Mexico have funded their own police force.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Bashing big business is increasingly popular among Americans. The percentage of the US population with a favorable view of large business has slipped from 60 per cent in 1950 to only 21 per cent last year, according to The Atlantic magazine.

Microchips have become a common way for vets to help animal shelters identify Fido or Fluffie’s owners should the furry friends go missing.

Development assistance may boost Canadian exports to aid recipient countries, a study by the Canadian International Development Platform suggests.

By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace - November/December 2017

Vidir Machine is allowing its employees to donate to MEDA via payroll deduction, and will match employee contributions up to $25,000.

As published in The Marketplace Magazine Jan-Feb 2019

More than two dozen private funds that make investments in women-led businesses were launched in 2018, a study by the Wharton Social Impact initiative suggests.

The study, spearheaded by social impact and gender lens advocate Suzanne Biegel, shows considerable growth in gender lens investing — investing to generate financial returns and a positive impact on women. The Wharton School is part of the University of Pennsylvania.

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Take the example of delivery giant FedEx, which had its genesis in a college term paper.

Founder Frederick Smith was an undergrad student at Yale in 1966, studying topology — ways to connect service points through a central hub to geometrically improve efficiencies. Smith recognized that guaranteed overnight delivery would be required in the new economy, and no one was at that time prepared to meet the need.

He got a poor grade on the paper but used the idea five years late to obtain planes, set up a hub and incorporated delivery trucks. The company bled red ink for its first four years but had sales of $1 billion by 1983.

An article in AdWeek magazine notes that each day, FedEx ships 14 million packages to 220 countries. Sales now top $60 billion. ◆

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

Bosses who want superstar employees need to think of them as such, research into the field of “expectancy effects” suggests.

But the physical and verbal cues they present in interactions with workers need to match, says an article in Entrepreneur.com. Employees who are made to believe in their own effectiveness can improve performance by up to 30 per cent, working harder and undeterred by setbacks. Workers seen as mediocre are micro-managed, which leads them to become defensive, reinforcing the tendency to micro-management and undermining their confidence. ◆

As printed in The Marketplace - 2018 - September/October

An even-handed newspaper “could have run the headline Number of People in Extreme Poverty Fell by 137,000 Since Yesterday every day for the last twenty-five years,” Daniel Pinker notes, citing German economist Max Roser. In his new book Enlightenment Now, Pinker argues that contrary to widely-held views that the world is in ever-worsening shape, things are in fact getting better. There is a fascinating analysis of his argument in an article entitled “The Big Question” in a recent edition of New Yorker magazine. ◆

IMG 5907By Mike Strathdee

As printed in The Marketplace – July/August 2018

Canadians hold fascinating, and sometimes contradictory, attitudes on overseas development work, an infographic article in Faith Today magazine points out.

More than seven in 10 Canadians take pride in overseas development work supported by Canadians, and 75 per cent say helping even one family or village is worthwhile.

At the same time, more than six in 10 Canadians think Canada should deal with domestic problems before increasing spending abroad, and 69 per cent prefer to donate to charities working within the country rather than on international issues.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Next time you take garbage to the curb, share a word or a prayer for the person who picks it up. In the US, it is a dangerous profession. Injuries and deaths per total number of workers among trash collectors put them in the top risk level, along with fishermen, roofers and loggers according to a Pro Publica report.

As printed in The Marketplace - May/June 2018

Not that long ago, a home’s energy efficiency was rated on an ascending scale — the higher the number, the better. Those days are done, and the goal now is to see how low you can go.

By Mike Strathdee

As Printed in The Marketplace – March/April 2018

“What can you do as a business manager in the world? I would say you can give people employment. If you give a thousand people, or even 20 people, or five people employment, meaningful employment, you are making a great contribution to this world. What is more destructive of human personality than forced idleness? I would think that one of the great incentives of being in business is to make it possible for some people to live, and to live decently, and live well.” — The late J. Lawrence Burkholder in a keynote address to the 1986 MEDA convention

Ramping up the number of women-owned businesses is key to ending extreme poverty, says World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim.

Founder-run companies are less well run than those where the management didn’t start the firm, a study by business professors at three US universities concludes.

Support for longhand writing and reading print publications instead of electronic screens can be found in a recent issue of Fast Company magazine. An article entitled, “This is How the Way You Read Impacts Your Memory and Productivity,” cites studies showing that taking notes by hand helps a person remember content better than if your notes are typed into a smart phone or laptop.