December 09, 2014 15:45 ET

MEDA and Mountain Lion Agriculture Win 2014 Social Finance Innovator Award for Investments Making Positive Social/Environmental Impacts

WATERLOO, ON--(Marketwired - December 09, 2014) - MEDA -- Mennonite Economic Development Associates -- and Mountain Lion Agriculture (MLA) were recognized on November 7 with a "Moving Money That Matters" Innovator Award at the Social Finance Forum in Toronto. MEDA and MLA, the only local supplier of branded rice products in Sierra Leone, were nominated earlier this year for their impact investing partnership.

The Social Finance Innovator Award recognizes, "impact investments that are creating positive social and/or environmental impact through the innovative transfer of capital."

In July 2014, MEDA, through its Sarona Risk Capital Fund (SRCF), invested $500,000 into MLA, which spurred further private investments of $250,000. In addition to the financial investment, a MEDA board member is providing MLA with mentorship and business support.

With MEDA's support, MLA is helping 5,000 small farmers in Sierra Leone to strengthen their supply chain and create a stable market to sell their harvest, leading to increased incomes and food security. MLA, which has a processing mill and 100-hectare seed multiplication farm, also offers suppliers training on sustainable agriculture practices, equipment rentals, seeds and other supplies to reduce subsistence farming and promote environmental conservation and pest management.

"Not only is MLA bringing positive change to its small farmer suppliers, they are also a secure source of rice for local consumers," explained Katie Turner, MEDA senior project manager. "In recent months during the Ebola crisis, MLA has been one of the only companies to successfully distribute its rice across Sierra Leone."

Agriculture is a challenging industry in the best of circumstances, but in a high-risk country like Sierra Leone, the impact of this innovative investment is evident. With the potential to feed over 250,000 people, MEDA's partnership with MLA could offer one solution to Sierra Leone's food security crisis.

"As an important player in the Canadian impact investing marketplace, MEDA continues to demonstrate its ability to marry sound investments with impact," independent consultant Hadley Nelles notes. "Its support of Mountain Lion Agriculture is an example of its ongoing leadership in this space and an exciting example of moving money that matters."

About Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
MEDA is an international economic development organization whose mission is to create business solutions to poverty. Founded in 1953 by a group of Mennonite business professionals, we partner with the poor to start or grow small and medium-sized businesses in developing regions around the world. Our expertise includes a full range of economic development tools: financial services, improved technology, business training, better access to markets and equity investment. Our work most often focuses on women, youth and the rural poor. We believe that all people deserve the opportunity to earn a livelihood and that unleashing entrepreneurship is a powerful way to alleviate poverty.

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