Impact Investment & Innovative Finance

Invest with us and support the creation of decent work opportunities in agri-food market systems.

The international community strives to eradicate poverty by 2030. MEDA believes that by transforming economies, these goals can be reached. Through investment and blended finance, MEDA is responding to the barriers that prevent systemically marginalized populations from building businesses that can create prosperity for themselves, their families, and their communities. Some of these barriers include gender-based barriers, market risks, climate vulnerabilities and limitations in innovative finance.

Recognizing the critical role of patient capital investment for social good, MEDA’s impact investment history dates to its founding in 1953 when it assembled a pool of early-stage venture capital and invested this, along with wrap-around business growth advisory assistance, in Sarona Dairy, then Paraguay’s first commercial dairy. It prospered, connecting thousands of small dairy farmers to markets and is today Paraguay’s leading corporate dairy. Buoyed by such success, MEDA expanded its impact investment work in the decades since.

Here's how

Through the MEDA Risk Capital Fund (MRCF), MEDA brings the power of investments to bear on our programming, systematically deploying catalytic capital and financial services to help clients to create decent work opportunities while developing more inclusive and dynamic agri-food market systems.

MEDA “flips the script” on the traditional investment approach, shifting from a focus on access to capital and gains for the investor, to a sustainable development, impact-led approach where investments are leveraged to build more inclusive and sustainable market systems, providing capital to strengthen the impacts these market systems create but also designing and implementing market incentives to strengthen the impact and ensure sustainability of the investment.

An investment in MRCF is an investment in sustainable and inclusive growth.

We believe investing for social impact is a powerful way to sustainably increase the prosperity, health, and wellbeing of millions of families around the world.

Here's what we invest in

SME Finance

Agribusiness

Financial Services

Impact Investment Platforms

Information Technology

Microfinance

Our Expertise

Blended Finance

MEDA is experienced in structuring blended finance partnerships that allow for different types of capital to achieve commercial and impact objectives. An early leader in blended finance, MEDA partnered with the Government of Canada in 2013 to pilot the use of concessionary finance to raise private capital for development-related investments in private equity and trade finance. A key aspect of these partnerships is the provision of technical assistance to funds and SMEs to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Program Linked Investment

MEDA brings investments alongside strategic activities that promote positive change at various levels of the market system, including within households and communities, productivity levels and social and environmental issues can improve, shifting the market as a whole toward greater equity and sustainability. That means MEDA tries out non-financial approaches first to see if they work to move the needle, and then brings in investment to try to move entrenched barriers or attitudes. This deeply impactful work allows MEDA to reinforce these advancements in the market.

MEDA starts conducting market assessments to identify gaps and opportunities of key players, to better understand the gender-climate nexus around power dynamics, market risks, community vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies and to inform investment decision-making. To address agri-food market systems challenges identified in local programming, MEDA co-design innovative financial instruments, including the MEDA Risk Capital Fund (MRCF), a game changer for MEDA to challenge the status quo and influence the broader ecosystem of the possibilities of leveraging investment for systems change.

Technical Assistance (Gender Lens Investing and ESG)

To support investments and projects, MEDA develops customized technical assistance packages, and delivers services directly to funds and SMEs in gender lens investing, environment social and governance (ESG) integration, and impact measurement and management. It also strengthens the capacities of local partners. Technical assistance can include strategies for gender and social inclusion and support to boost gender outcomes as well as performance and profit for portfolio companies; including addressing gender equality and rights issues such as gender-based violence (which in the wake of major economic and environmental shocks can demonstrably increase); innovations that target companies to upgrade their support and services to women suppliers, employees, and customers; including enhancing climate networks, technology or innovative solutions to address climate issues that particularly impact women or other systemically marginalized; managing challenge grant programs for SMEs, training on environment, social and governance (ESG), and gender equality mainstreaming.

MEDA initiatives combine investment with other project activities to build market linkages, shift power within the investment ecosystem to address past biases and inequities and to build resilience for climate change. By partnering with more than 20 fund managers and 37 companies across 21 countries, MEDA has supported improved business performance and impact including the development of groundbreaking toolkits, like the Gender Equality Mainstreaming Framework.

Examples of MEDA's Work

Blended
Finance

Trading Up Project

Program Linked
Investment

M-SAWA Project

Technical Assistance

(Gender Lens Investing and ESG)
GroFin Consultancy

Networks & Partners

MEDA will continuously adapt the MRCF investment strategy in response to the changing needs and trends in the impact investing ecosystem. We will catalyze new platforms and innovative finance partnerships, improve the fund’s investment policies and procedures, scale the organization’s gender lens investing strategy, and design more sophisticated impact reporting methodologies. We are proud to partner with and belong to the following:

Networks

Investees & Partners

Contact

Jessica Villanueva

Technical Director, Impact Investment

jvillanueva@meda.org