In a world where large businesses and corporations seemingly dominate international markets; there is a small, but salient actor that plays a pivotal role in all economies worldwide. Micro-, small and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are the eyes and feet on the ground and can be credited for significant employment and income generation opportunities. As a result, MSMEs have been identified as a major driver of poverty alleviation and economic development.
In the effort to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable economies, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 27th as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day in 2017. MEDA understands that MSMEs are catalysts for local development and are at the forefront of innovation, creativity and the provision of decent work for all. Equipped with expertise and resources, MEDA partners with MSMEs around the world to forge market linkages and provide training, technical support, financial services and more.
Take the Colombian industrial supply firm, Rayco for example. Rayco is backed by Kandeo Fund, a regional private equity fund backed by Sarona Frontier Market Fund 2, a $150 million blended finance fund-of-funds managed by Sarona Asset Management. With a small grant, alongside an equity investment, the supplier set up a new store in a rural location. The idea was to diversify away from consumer appliances and offer income-generating agricultural tools. When the new store did not yield expected traffic or revenues, the supplier adapted and introduced a mobile sales agent model to reach the most rural markets of Socorro.
In Nigeria, MEDA partnered with Cuso International on the Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Access and Development (YouLead) project. The Youth Entrepreneurship Business Support Plan (YEBSP) is just one of the many activities aimed at improving financial inclusion for young entrepreneurs in Cross River State. Over 4000 applications were received over the course of three cycles and 324 youth entrepreneurs (56% women) were granted funds for their businesses.
In Asia, with funding from Canada and MCIC (Manitoba Council for International Cooperation), MEDA has implemented a five-year project in Myanmar aimed at increasing women’s participation in the country’s evolving economy and becoming active, respected and empowered economic actors and leaders. Through the Improving Market Opportunities for Women (IMOW) project, MEDA has launched an innovation fund that will deliver business assistance and matching grants to MSMEs, as well as larger companies. The first two grant recipients have been selected with supply chain expansion to women farmers and establishing women-run shops as key objectives, respectively.
Since 1953, MEDA has recognized the vital role MSMEs play in local and global economies; catering to vulnerable populations and tending to context-specific needs. With emphasis placed upon sustainability, replicability, scalability and measurability, MEDA facilitates long-term impact through investment and advisory services for clients. MEDA is honoured to participate in the celebration of these businesses and their contribution to international development.