By Raheem Akingbolu
The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Coca-Cola Nigeria Limitedand its bottling partner, Nigeria Bottling Company have signed a partnership agreement to empower 1,000 women in Lagos State.
According to an MoU jointly signed by the partners, through this partnership framework, the selected women would receive training in financial literacy and business skills as well as start-up capital to integrate them into the Coca-Cola value chain as retailers of the company’s beverage products
This partnership was anchored on Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Programme which is thecompany’s global commitment to enable the economic empowerment of fivemillion women entrepreneurs across the its value chain by 2020.
Representing the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund at the MoU signing ceremony, the Executive Secretary LSETF, Akintunde Oyebode stated, that the LSETF’s mandate is aimed at creating an enabling environment for Lagos residents to realise their business aspirations by providing leverage & access to finance for them to thrive, while ensuring employment and innovative opportunities for all residents of the state.
“A partnership with an organisation such as Coca-Cola assures us that we are working in the right direction and strengthens our commitment to building entrepreneurs within the state. We understand that to empower a woman is to empower a whole generation.
“We will continue to provide accessible and affordable credit to support women as they seek to start or expand their businesses, because when we do, we create wealth and employment that alleviate poverty,” Oyebode said.
The Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, Mr Bhupendra Suri, said, “Now more than ever, we are certain of our commitment to the well-being of our communities, a critical part of which are our women. As pillars of their communities, women invest a sizeable portion of the income they earn on the health and education of their children and in their local economies, creating a tremendous economic impact.
“LSETF is our partner of choice for this initiative considering our shared vision on women empowerment and its vast network across the state.”
Suri stated stated that realising the vision of enabling the economic empowerment of five million women by 2020 depended on building scalable models and powerful partnerships, across businesses, civil society and government
This, he said, was vital to maximising the impact of their programmes and making them more sustainable.
The Legal and Public Affairs Communications Director, NBC, Mrs Sade Morgan, said, “As a part of the Coca-Cola system, we understand the importance of partnerships. Our business and its growth in Nigeria are a result of strategic partnerships with distributors, retailers and our consumers.