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When I first heard about 5by20, my first thoughts were, “What in the world is 5by20?”
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you are scratching your heads right now and wondering what is 5by20.

Well, I am here to share with you that 5by20 is a global commitment by The Coca-Cola Company to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. Specifically, this means the small businesses that The Coca-Cola Company and their bottling partners work with, in over 200 countries around the world, from fruit farmers and recyclers to retailers and artisans.

Yes, you read that right!

To enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs!

Now, 5 million is definitely not a small number because it is just slightly less than Singapore’s population of about 5.5 million and it is truly commendable that The Coca-Cola Company embarked on this massive project to help women entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace.

The 5by20 initiative offers women access to business skills training courses, financial services and connections with peers or mentors; along with the confidence that comes with building a successful business.

Why the women and not the men?

Well, this can be rather subjective but studies show that women do 66 percent of the world’s work and yet, they earn only 10 percent of the world’s income; 90 percent of which goes back to their families and communities. To help address this disparity, The Coca Cola Company launched 5by20 in 2010 and the initiative have since been expanded to a total of 44 countries.

Closer to home, the 5by20 initiative have been started in many Asian countries such as Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, China, and India.

Based in the Philippines, the STAR [Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources] Program aims to empower women owners of small neighborhood stores, known as sari-sari stores, to increase their household income and improve their quality of life. These largely women-owned outlets are found on nearly every street and are a major point-of-sale channel for The Coca-Cola Company’s products in the Philippines.

The STAR Program is a multi-year Golden Triangle partnership between Coca-Cola Philippines, its local bottling partner Coca-Cola FEMSA, the Philippine government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and regional microfinance institutions. Consistent with the goals of the 5by20 program, women sari-sari store owners attend business skills training sessions over a 12-week period. Upon graduation, the women are given the opportunity to apply for business support, including access to resources such as microfinance, merchandising and peer mentoring.

The program’s ambitious target is to reach 200,000 women retailers throughout the Philippines by 2020, with similar programs being developed and sharing best practices in the neighbouring countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

If you would like to find out more about the 5by20 initiative, you can check out the 5by20 Official Website!

Truly, The Coca-Cola Company is fulfilling its mission to inspire moments of optimism and happiness, and to create value and make a difference in the community.