From November 2-5, MEDA brought together a diverse group of members, partners, donors, staff, and stakeholders in Toronto, Canada to celebrate 70 remarkable years of investing in entrepreneurs.
Through inspiring panels, seminars, and networking opportunities, we reflected on where we have come from and how that legacy is shaping our path forward – to create decent work opportunities for half a million people across the globe by 2030.
The dynamic team of Robert and Lisa Shuh kicked off this year’s celebratory Convention by hosting eight former MEDA staff, clients, and partners on stage. This group of ten celebrated MEDA’s 70-year history with stories, insights, and reflections on the impact MEDA has had on entrepreneurs across the globe.
Close to 400 people came together online and in Toronto for this hybrid panel that explored MEDA’s trailblazing history in the international development sector and discussed the future of economic development. From impact investing and gender inclusion to micro and rural finance, our panelists shared insights into where we have come from in the sector and the challenges and opportunities facing us in the years to come.
This memorable panel discussion shed light on the incredible power of partnerships to propel systemic change, amplify collective impact, and drive sustainable economic development forward. From MEDA’s early beginnings in Paraguay to Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa, partnerships have shaped our past and will continue to influence our future.
In our flagship event, distinguished keynote speaker Alloysius Attah, CEO of Farmerline, shared his remarkable entrepreneurial journey from early beginnings with MEDA to building lasting wealth for 1.7 million farmers through agricultural technology.
Participants also welcomed the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, who delivered a message of encouragement and support for MEDA’s investments in entrepreneurs and the power of economic development.
“I really want to congratulate you for your innovation, your leadership, your foresight, your ability to see more than what you can do as an organization, but always bringing other players to the mix to have the biggest possible impact on the ground.
I will do what I can to make sure that we talk to you, that we benefit from your 70 years of experience, expertise, compassion, and belief in the ability of people to help themselves and to be sustainably more prosperous than they were before your contact.
I want to tell you that as far as I am concerned and if I can help it, you have an ally now in international development […].”
Bridging experience and innovation, this year’s Inter-Generational Speed Networking event hosted by Dawn Graber and Macy Troyer sparked new conversations and what are sure to become lasting professional connections.
With insights from Natalia Sudarkina, the women of MEDA and beyond came together to share stories, diverse experiences, and unwavering support for championing women’s empowerment in business across the world.
Their commitment to transforming smallholder farming in Zambia stood out, and their innovative approach won the hearts of our esteemed judges. AgriEn’s comprehensive strategy and impactful results truly embody the spirit of the competition, driving sustainable change in Agri-Food systems.
In an exploration of the intersection between business and faith, this year’s seminars focused on how faith communities are taking action on climate change, the ways in which entrepreneurship has evolved in Paraguay since MEDA’s first investments in the Sarona Dairy, and pathways to maximize contributions to the common good.
Participants heard from experts on the connection between impact investment and entrepreneurship and how investing in entrepreneurs has sewn seeds for increased productivity, inclusive growth, and systems change. Seminars were also held to discuss how philanthropic capital can be leveraged for women and youth-owned enterprises in Africa, MEDA’s work to advance community economic development in North America, and the lessons we have learned along the way through 70 years of impact in international economic development.
Beyond networking opportunities, MEDA’s Convention featured seminar opportunities to enhance the professional development of participants. Sessions were held on nurturing resilience in a change-weary world and the legacy of family business through entrepreneurship.
Explore the progress MEDA has made over the past year to create decent work opportunities and to build on our legacy of 70 years of investing in entrepreneurs.