Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative Empowers more than 2 Million Women Entrepreneurs across Africa

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This International Women’s Month, The Coca-Cola Company and its partners are proud to celebrate exceeding its 5by20 goal by enabling the economic empowerment of more than 6 million women around the world. And 34% (over 2 million) of those women so enabled live and do business in Africa.

5by20 aimed to assist 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, women entrepreneurs are enabled to overcome social and economic barriers and succeed as entrepreneurs, while also helping create sustainable communities.

The Coca-Cola Company executed 5by20, a global initiative implemented across 33 countries in Africa, where it rolled out locally relevant initiatives. The 5by20 goal was ambitious, and the company knew it could not achieve it alone. Over the last 10 years, it worked with countless partners including its bottling partners, civil society organizations, government stakeholders, other private sector actors, and with generous financial grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation to recipients within its Women’s Entrepreneur Empowerment priority giving tier.

The Coca-Cola Foundation funded some of the 5by20 initiatives, and the Coca-Cola system has worked with several partners to implement over 300 programs in 100 countries to provide women entrepreneurs with business skills training, mentoring networks, financial services and other assets to help enhance their businesses and lives as well as provide more for their families.

Women empowerment and progress towards all the Sustainable Development Goals requires the collective effort of governments, civil society, NGOs, and private sector organizations. And so over the last 10 years, Coca Cola has worked with countless partners to help bring our aspiration to life. Partnerships with organizations such as UN Women, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), Department for International Development (DFID), USAID, International Finance Corporation (IFC) MercyCorps, TechnoServe, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hand in Hand Southern Africa, and several other regional and local partners were critical to the success of the 5by20 program. These partnerships demonstrate that a lot more can be achieved through collective action.

In 2012, The Coca-Cola Company signed a global agreement with UN Women to enable the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs in three pilot countries, which included South Africa. At the end of the four-year partnership in South Africa in December 2016, over 25,000 women micro-entrepreneurs had received business skills, leadership training, mentoring and peer networking skills, and access to finance. According to a report by Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, through this program the entrepreneurs increased their revenues by 40% on average and increased their confidence and leadership abilities within their communities.

In Kenya, a partnership with the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) established in 2014 and rooted in a shared interest in creating a fair equitable environment to help women overcome barriers and build sustainable businesses, aimed to empower 1 million women through entrepreneurship training and access to capital investment. At the end of 2020, nearly 800,000 Kenyan women were empowered through the initiative.

In Nigeria, in partnership with the UK Department for International Development Girls Education, Coca Cola launched the Educating Nigerian Girls in Nigeria Enterprise (ENGINE) value program, which aimed to strengthen the educational and economic opportunities of the Nigerian girl-child. Nearly 21,000 young girls and women benefitted from this program and many more over the last 10 years. At the end of 2020, nearly 500,000 Nigerian women were empowered through the initiative.

As The Coca Cola Company celebrate surpassing its goal to reach 5 million women on this International Women’s Day, it knows that there is still work to be done,” says Patricia Obozuwa, Vice-President: Public Affairs, Communication, and Sustainability Coca-Cola Africa. “Women entrepreneurs continue to face major hurdles hindering their successes, and we acknowledge that our work must therefore continue, particularly given the significant socio-economic disruption created by the pandemic in so many communities around the world.”

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