Kenya & Rwanda

Second Chance Success

March 2020 - 2022

Blended Finance Approaches to Women’s Economic Empowerment


When women are economically empowered, they re-invest in their families and communities, producing a multiplier effect that spurs economic growth and contributes to global peace and stability. Yet, lack of access to finance is one of the major barriers facing women entrepreneurs around the world.

While the women’s access-to-finance gap is well documented, little research exists which examines viable approaches that improve access to capital for women entrepreneurs. Without proven approaches, investment funds will not apply a gender lens to their investments, which perpetuates this gap. The Second Chance Success project seeks to identify and test strategies that remove barriers to women entrepreneurs’ access to capital. By sharing the results, best practices, and lessons learned from the Second Chance Success pilot, the project can make the business case to finance women entrepreneurs and also why GLI approaches are effective. This, in turn, can build the confidence of investors. Ultimately, greater investor confidence will lead to increased capital flows to women-owned businesses and investments that use a gender lens. 

Project Updates

Water is precious: let’s protect it on World Water Day 2023

On March 22, 2023 at the UN Headquarters in New York City, the first global UN conference on water in 46 years will be held. The conference aims to build new commitments, pledges and actions by Governments and all stakeholders towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, and water-related targets across all SDGs, in order to move us collectively towards the Water Action Agenda.


Getting to the root of business success

“As an entrepreneur, I want to show a path for others, and that will be my success. My next dream is to build my own factory by recruiting 300-500 employees and delivering quality foods in Africa. This is just the beginning.”


Nurturing people on the prairies

Electrical contracting firm forges relational culture. Kansas Electric outgrew its downtown premises and moved to a new, much larger shop on the outskirts of town. The company eventually focused on industrial customers, working on grain elevators, manufacturing plants, and food processing facilities. Kansas Electric is one of the largest industrial electrical contractors in its region.


An overnight success 10 years in the making

For more than a decade, Kevin Neufeldt has thought success was just around the corner for Extreme Modular Buildings. “We’ve been building these units for over 10 years,” said Neufeldt, who heads operations and engineering for the Lethbridge-based business. EMB is a division of Haul-All Equipment Systems.


For the love of good food

Running a takeout restaurant during the pandemic sparked career highs and lows for Thompson Tran. “You know how glorious that (COVID) was for me? It reset the clock,” the Kitchener, Ontario entrepreneur recalls. His Wooden Boat Co. operation was the most profitable it had ever been.


March/April 2023

A beautiful business partnership: Pennsylvania couple overcome challenges to build flourishing quilt trade | Ethiopian sauce success | Goshen’s community bookstore | Kansas Electric prioritizes relationships | Wooden Boat navigates changing food sector | Demand for portable fire halls lights up


Bridging the Digital Divide on International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day, we are pleased to share some of the International Women’s Day events MEDA staff will be participating in. This year’s theme is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.” We encourage you to join us where possible. We hope that our International Women’s Day content and events will give you some useful insights that will shape your thoughts about how we can advance gender equality, at home and beyond.




This program was undertaken with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development.


Criterion Institute, Volta Capital and Business Partners International (BPI)