ATLANTA — Coca-Cola has seen strong progress toward its goal to place 5 million women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain by 2020 and plans to expand its initiative.
Called the 5by20 initiative, the program launched originally in four pilot countries: Brazil, India, South Africa and the Philippines. Coca-Cola plans to broaden its scope to a total of 12 countries, adding China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Haiti, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria and Thailand. By the end of 2012, 5by20 will reach 300,000 women.
The economic empowerment program provides women with access to business skills, financial services, assets and support networks of peers and mentors, thus helping them succeed as entrepreneurs.
“Working with and investing in women is one of the most powerful ways to spur sustainable economic growth and development,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company. “I’m excited by the progress we’re making toward our goal to empower 5 million women. We are transforming lives and communities, making a profound and lasting impact on global issues and also growing our business.”
The expansion includes the launch of 5by20 in China in partnership with All China Women’s Federation to provide business skills to female retailers, with the initial pilot program underway in Guangxi Province. In Kenya, young women entrepreneurs are receiving business skills training and retail assets to establish new enterprises in partnership with TechnoServe. In Mexico, young women are receiving business skills training and being trained for their first job.
In addition several new 5by20 programs are a result of the partnership The Coca-Cola Company and UN Women announced in Sept. 2011.
“Women need more opportunities to participate fully and equally in the workforce. Countless studies point to the fact that companies with a higher share of women have improved results — higher levels of innovation, productivity and profit margins,” said Michelle Bachelet, UN Women executive director. “UN Women supports women’s economic empowerment as a key priority to advance gender equality and improve the lives of women around the world.”
The Coca-Cola Company and UN Women’s $4 million partnership will economically empower 40,000 women throughout a three-year peri