The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 Initiative Reaches More Than 1.2 Million Women Entrepreneurs

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Coca-Cola Company today announced strong progress toward its goal to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain by 2020. Year-end results for 2015 indicate that the initiative, known as 5by20, has reached a total of more than 1.2 million women entrepreneurs across 60 countries since its launch in 2010.

More than 372,000 women entrepreneurs were enabled by 5by20 in 2015, increasing the total number of women participants by 43 percent over the course of the year. This growth can be attributed primarily to programs scaling and replicating in the Eurasia- Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.

“We believe thriving, sustainable communities are critical for a sustainable business and women are absolutely essential to our success,” said Bea Perez, Chief Sustainability Officer of The Coca-Cola Company. “We still have a significant amount of work to do, but I am proud of the progress we are making. It’s inspiring when I am able to meet the participants and see firsthand how 5by20 is transforming the lives of women, families and communities around the world.”

5by20 focuses on helping 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, 5by20 is helping women succeed as entrepreneurs, while also helping create sustainable communities.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 9.59.28 AM

Market Results: South Africa

In 2013, Coca-Cola and Ipsos, a leading global market research company, began conducting an impact study of 101 women entrepreneurs in Guateng and North West provinces near Johannesburg, South Africa. These women retailers were part of a larger 5by20 business skills training program implemented in collaboration with partners UN Women and Hand in Hand Southern Africa. Results collected over 18 months indicate that, on average, women entrepreneurs participating in the study saw increases in sales and personal income, which they were able to use for basic expenses for their families and to put into savings accounts.

Specific data points from the study include:

– Average business sales increased 44% and data indicates average personal income increased 23% over one year (July 2014-July 2015).

– More than half (54%) of participants reported their business improved ‘a lot’ as a result of the training. Of those women reporting their business improved ‘a lot’, more than half saw an increase in personal income.

– On average, since baseline, women showed an increased ability to afford basic expenses for themselves and their family, such as school expenses for children’s education, medical visits, and clothing.

– Approximately two-thirds participants reported they were able to put money in savings each month.

– More than 90% of women included in the study said they were confident they will keep their business open and will be able to grow.

“These data points indicate that women participating in our 5by20 initiative are achieving sustainable progress in being economically empowered,” said Therese Gearhart, president of Coca-Cola Southern Africa. “An educated, successful and empowered woman creates a ripple effect throughout her community when she can afford her children’s education, provide basic medical needs for her family and help support and mentor other women entrepreneurs. The entire community benefits.”

Partnerships with organizations such as UN Women, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) MercyCorps, TechnoServe, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hand in Hand Southern Africa, and many regional and local partners around the world are critical to the success of The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 initiative.

As such, Coca-Cola recently committed to collaborate with IDB, UN Women, UN Global Compact and others to develop a new diagnostic tool to help companies achieve equality between men and women in the workplace, marketplace and community. This new tool will help companies assess performance against the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities, benchmark progress against peers, laws and industry standards, highlight good practices and set concrete targets and performance indicators. To read more about the WEPs diagnostic tool, click here.

To learn more about Ipsos and details on the South Africa study referenced in this news release, please visit:

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options. Our billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages. More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world’s top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey, follow us on Twitter at, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, or find us on LinkedIn at

About 5by20

5by20 is The Coca-Cola Company’s global initiative that aims to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. Specifically, that means the small businesses the company works with in over 200 countries around the world. From fruit farmers to artisans, this initiative aims to help women overcome the barriers they face to business success. 5by20 and The Coca-Cola Company are proud to be giving millions of women opportunities to build their businesses, support their families and build their communities, while inspiring more to do the same. For more information, visit


Photo Cutline: Noko, a guardian to five children and a restaurant owner in Diepsloot, South Africa, learned about bookkeeping, marketing and other business skills in a workshop offered by Coca-Cola’s 5by20 program and UN Women. She says her confidence has grown and her profits have nearly doubled. In Noko’s words, “Sometimes when I look around my business, I see how far I have grown and I am filled with so much pride I could cry. Now I do not worry about my future, I am excited just thinking about how much more I can do.” More information about Noko can be found by linking here.