The Coca-Cola Company is recognizing the valuable role played by women in creating a better world. Thus, the giant beverage firm believes that promoting equality and empowerment for women around the globe can bring about immediate impact that could benefit not just them and their families but also the society as a whole.
The company looks up to women as pillars of its business system. That propelled it to establish in 2010 a special foundation for them and develop its initiative called 5by20, a program that identifies women’s challenges and their economic potential. The ultimate goal is to empower up to 5 million women entrepreneurs across Coca-Cola’s value chain by the year 2020.
In the Philippines, Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative is embodied through its Sari-sari Store Training and Access Resources (STAR) program. The brand is utilizing its strong network of 19 manufacturing facilities across the country and more than 10,000 employees in promoting women empowerment.
Through the STAR program, Coca-Cola is aiming to empower up to 200,000 Filipinas in the duration of the 5by20. This initiative taps women who own and operate sari-sari stores (small retail shops) to educate and train them about effective business and personal finance management.
Fulfillment of a vision
John Murphy, president of The Coca-Cola Company’s Asia Pacific Group shed more light about 5by20 during his recent visit to the Philippines: “When the program was started, people inside and outside the company were wondering if it was possible to empower five million women around the world. Sitting here with you today shows that vision is being fulfilled by people like you. And your stories will continue to inspire us at Coca-Cola to continue with these programs.”
Murphy checked out Coca-Cola Philippines’ sustainability programs during the visit. He met with 10 women micro-entrepreneurs who are graduates of the Coca-Cola STAR Program, which is being implemented locally in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Women from specific areas across the country could now enroll and complete the Basic Entrepreneurship and Gender Sensitivity Training at the STAR Center for Excellence in Taguig City.
One of the graduates who shared how the program has helped her was entrepreneur Carmencita Aspiras, who doubled her retail store’s average revenue from P2,500 daily to about P5,000 in a short span.
Aspiras said the Coca-Cola STAR program helped her be a better wife, mother, and citizen. “I am what I am today because of the program. I was able to let my children finish school. Business is also thriving.”
Here is a video featuring the story of Bernardita Ribamonte from Palawan, another graduate of the training program, and how the Coca-Cola STAR initiative helped improve the overall quality of her life.