Coca-Cola Supports Female Entrepreneurs


Raheem Akingbolu
More than two million women in Africa have benefitted from the Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 programme, the company announced recently as part of its International Women’s Month celebrations.

According to the company, the 5by20 initiative enabled the economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs across Africa by providing access to business skills, financial services, and support networks.

The company stated that the Coca-Cola Company and its partners are proud to celebrate exceeding Coke’s 5by20 goal by enabling the economic empowerment of more than 6 million women around the world.

It stated further that 34 per cent (just over 2 million) of those women enabled by the 5by20 program 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 we rolled out locally relevant initiatives. The 5by20 goal was ambitious, and we knew that we could not achieve it alone. Over the last 10 years, we have worked with countless partners including our bottling partners, civil society organisations, government stakeholders, other private sector actors, and generous financial grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation to recipients within its Women’s Entrepreneur Empowerment priority giving tier.

The Coca-Cola Foundation has funded some of our 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 against all the Sustainable Development Goals requires the collective effort of governments, civil society, NGOs, and private sector organizations.

“Over the last 10 years, we have worked with countless partners who helped us bring our aspiration to life. Partnerships with organisations 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 are a demonstration that through collective action we achieve more together than we can on our own,” it added.
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.