MEDA celebrates entrepreneurship in Lancaster, PA

Lancaster, PA– Under the theme, “Celebrating Entrepreneurship,” MEDA celebrated its first in-person Annual Convention since 2019. From November 3rd-6th, this well-attended event included an engaging lineup of speakers and activities. Attendees listened to dynamic speakers and participated in various tours and networking events.

Below are some of the event’s highlights:

  • MEDA’s Year in Review highlighted MEDA’s challenges and achievements during the last year. The Executive Leadership team provided an in-depth overview of MEDA’s long-term goals, including the North-South shift, the need to be more inclusive while remaining consistent with our values and staying focused on our mission, and MEDA’s overarching goal of creating or sustaining decent work for 500,000 people by 2030. The Year in Review also underscored the strong progress that is being made and the hard work that has gotten MEDA to this point.
  • The convention’s seminars focused on diverse topics, such as gender lens investing, the role of faith during uncertainty, and how localization can benefit international development projects. Also included in the convention’s lineup were in-depth breakdowns of MEDA’s projects by its project staff experts, such as Helal Ahsan -Ul-Haque, David Eagle, and Nadia Guerch.
  • This year’s pitch competition highlighted five finalists with highly innovative ideas. They were Diana Orembe, co-founder of Novfeed; Joji B. Pantoja, CEO and co-founder of Coffee for Peace; Fedrick Lainson Kibona, founder of Frecha Milling Group; Jolenta Joseph, Managing Director and Nutritionist of Sanavita, and Fortunatha Mmari, the Co-Founder & Managing Director of AFCO. After much deliberation, the judges announced a tie between Diana Orembe of NovFeed and Jolenta Joseph of Sanavita. Diana’s Novfeed was selected for its innovative concept of transforming organic waste into alternative protein ingredients. Similarly, Jolenta’s Sanavita company was chosen for its focus on childhood and maternal nutrition. The USD $15,000 prize was increased to USD $20,000, considering both competitors’ exceptional pitches.
  • The convention featured keynote addresses by Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director, Center for Faithful Business, Seattle Pacific University, Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli, Managing Partner of Sahel Capital and Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd., and Kenneth Hochstetler, President, and CEO of Everence®. Dr. Flett provided attendees with insights into the connection of faith in business. Ndidi Nwuneli provided a stirring address for why wealth creation, and not poverty alleviation, matters more in Africa. Lastly, Kenneth Hochstetler gave an engaging speech on the value of resilience in uncertain times.

MEDA thanks its 2022 event sponsors, attendees, plenary speakers, seminar presenters, and panel guests who made this year’s convention possible. It also extends sincere gratitude for the generous support of its private donors; their crucial support enabled MEDA to fulfill its mission of providing business solutions to poverty.

Stay connected

We’re celebrating our 70th anniversary in Toronto next year! Mark your calendars for Convention on November 2-5th, 2023, in Toronto, Canada. To keep up-to-date on Convention-related and other MEDA news, sign up for MEDAzine, our monthly newsletter, or our bi-monthly Marketplace magazine.

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  • MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)

    MEDA is an international economic development organization that creates business solutions to poverty. We work in agri-food market systems, focusing primarily on women and youth in rural communities in the Global South. Our success is measured by income, improved processes, increased knowledge, and the creation of decent work.

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