The positive economic ripple effects from MEDA’s INFRONT project

Waterloo, Ontario– MEDA’s Impact Investing in Frontier Markets (INFRONT) project was recently profiled in USAID’s Vignette Handbook, highlighting its impact on hundreds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) worldwide.

Operating from 2013-2017, MEDA’s INFRONT project, in partnership with Sarona Asset Management (Sarona) and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, set up the Sarona Frontier Markets Fund 2 LP (SFMF). INFRONT invested in local funds that have high development impact potential, and worked in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to improve SMEs capacity to access investment capital, adopt more inclusive business practices, and accurately measure social impact.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play essential roles in emerging economies, but they face many challenges that prevents them from benefitting individuals and national economies. SMEs struggle to access investment capital, adopt best business practices, and measure social impact, which can be complex and challenging. The goal of INFRONT was for women and men to access products and services delivered by more socially and environmentally responsible firms by providing investment and technical assistance to SMEs.

As of 2016, the INFRONT project:

  • Used private capital and invested in 16 funds and 79 SMEs in frontier and emerging markets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America
  • Enabled 30 SMEs to receive matching technical assistance grant funds, contributing around $2 million to improve operational sustainability, focusing on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies and practices
  • Expanded client base of portfolio companies to approximately 6.5 million clients since the Sarona Investments
  • Reduced poverty by creating more jobs, contributing to the local economy, promoting gender equality, and environmental sustainability
  • Enabled Technical assistance recipient companies to pay more than 125 million CAD to domestic suppliers to boost their national economies and strengthen local supply chains

You can access the USAID handbook by clicking on the button below:

MEDA is pleased to be highlighted for its work in providing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the technical expertise and financial assistance to make their businesses more efficient and profitable and creating more job opportunities.



  • 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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