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. The initiative, known as 5by20, is expanding beyond its pilot programs in four countries to launch and scale programs across a total of 12 countries: Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, South Africa and Thailand. 5by20 is on track to reach 300,000 women by the end of 2012.
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 creating thriving, sustainable communities.
“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.”
Initially focused on four pilot countries – Brazil, India, South Africa and the Philippines – the expansion of 5by20 into additional countries demonstrates The Coca-Cola Company’s continued commitment to testing, learning and scaling programs in order to reach its ambitious women’s economic empowerment goal.
This 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 September 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 US$4 million partnership will economically empower 40,000 women over three years in South Africa, Brazil and Egypt. The two organizations are collaborating to provide women with business skills training, leadership training and access to financial assets. UN Women is the UN organization established as a global champion for women and girls.
“We know that women’s income goes directly to their children’s education and other family needs,” adds Kristin Hetle, Director of UN Women’s Strategic Partnerships Division. “The collaboration between The Coca-Cola Company and UN Women will benefit communities at large and future generations.”
In Egypt, The Coca-Cola Company and UN Women are providing women entrepreneurs with retail kiosks, business skills training and access to mentors. In Brazil, the partnership is focused on reaching women recyclers, artisans and community leaders throughout Coca-Cola’s value chain to provide leadership skill development and business skills training. In South Africa, the two organizations are providing retailers with business skills training, mentoring and guidance on networking with peers.
“Women entrepreneurs around the world are faced with numerous barriers to success,” said Charlotte Oades, Global Director, Women’s Economic Empowerment, The Coca-Cola Company. “We believe providing access to training, finance and support networks are the best ways to help women overcome barriers, unlock their untapped potential and build their business in a sustainable way.”
In addition to the 5by20 initiative, The Coca-Cola Company supports other women’s economic empowerment efforts around the world. In June, as part of our re-entry into Myanmar, the Company announced a US$3 million grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Company’s charitable giving arm, to Pact. The Company will work with Pact, a non-governmental organization, to support women’s economic empowerment and job creation initiatives throughout the country through a program called WORTH. This program will initially fund women interested in supporting a variety of businesses, and Coca-Cola expects the program to eventually identify women entrepreneurs interested in becoming independent shopkeepers and distributors of Coca-Cola products.
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. Led by Coca-Cola, the world’s most valuable brand, our Company’s portfolio features 15 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, 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 www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo or visit our blog at www.coca-colablog.com.