The world is celebrating women this month and what better way than to enable them economically so that they’re able to take care of themselves and their families. Women represent the greatest untapped source of economic opportunity around the world and when they are empowered, whole communities are empowered.
Like many other companies globally, Coca-Cola has always been at the forefront of women empowerment which the company does by forming strategic partnerships with other like-minded partners.
In Kenya for example, the company has a partnership with the Women Enterprise Fund. The partnership which is rooted in shared interests in creating a fair equitable environment for women was established in 2014. The aim of the partnership is to help women overcome barriers and build sustainable businesses. The end game is to impact 1 Million women through training and access to capital to do businesses.
In 2010, The Coca-Cola Company announced a global initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs by the year 2020. The announcement was made in New York amid the United Nations General Assembly; and with this, 5by20® was born.
This International Women’s Month, Coca-Cola and its partners have exceeded its 5by20 goal by reaching over 6 million women around the world. 2 million of these women live and do business here in Africa.
5by20 aimed to assist women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain – agricultural producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, recyclers, and artisans – overcome challenges when establishing and growing their business. By providing access to business skills, financial services, assets and support networks of peers and mentors, women entrepreneurs are enabled to overcome social and economic barriers and succeed as entrepreneurs, while also helping create sustainable communities.
The Coca-Cola Foundation has funded some of the 5by20 initiatives, and the Coca-Cola system has worked with several partners to implement over 300 programs in 100 countries to provide women entrepreneurs with business skills training, mentoring networks, financial services and other assets to help enhance their businesses and lives as well as provide more for their families.
In 2012, The Coca-Cola Company signed a global agreement with UN Women to enable the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in three pilot countries, which included South Africa. At the end of the four-year partnership in South Africa in December 2016, over 25,000 women micro-entrepreneurs had received business skills, leadership training, mentoring and peer networking skills, and access to finance. According to a report by Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, through this program the entrepreneurs increased their revenues by 40% on average and increased their confidence and leadership abilities within their communities.