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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.