Coca-Cola STAR program gathers 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Cebu

The economic empowerment program of Coca-Cola Philippines for women micro-entrepreneurs is one of the most responsive and inclusive advocacies in the Asia Pacific region. To date, the Coca-Cola Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program has impacted the lives of more than 80,000 women.

“The STAR Program in the Philippines is a model program on how Coca-Cola can create a more direct and positive contribution to the development of the communities where we are present,” said John Murphy, The Coca-Cola Company Asia Pacific Group president.

Through the “Golden Triangle Partnerships” of Coca-Cola with government agencies, and civil society, the STAR Program further expanded its reach to include women in agriculture; distressed and repatriated women overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through the Overseas Workers Welfare Association of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); beneficiaries of the government conditional cash transfer program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the DSWD-NCR; women micro-entrepreneurs under the Kapatid Program of both the DTI and GoNegosyo; as well as women in disaster-stricken areas.

“This year, we are doubling our efforts to bring the STAR Program to more women by partnering with various government agencies and local government units, said Gilda Maquilan, 5by20 Lead and Sustainability Manager of Coca-Cola Philippines.

During the STAR Caravan held at the Severo Duterte National Elementary School in Danao City in Cebu, Murphy interacted with around 1,000 women micro-entrepreneurs. The event enjoined the women in a day of learning, entertainment, and prizes. Potential 5by20 STAR Scholars had the opportunity to understand how the program operates through integrated components. This includes access to resources by connecting them to micro-finance institutions such as Alay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI), First Community Cooperative (FICCO), Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. (NWTF), ASA Philippines, and National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO); industry membership via the Philippine Association of Stores and Carinderia Owners (PASCO); and integration to the Coca-Cola value chain via customized business support provided by the bottling partner, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines.

Coca-Cola Philippines launched the STAR Program in 2011, in line with the 5by20 global initiative of The Coca-Cola Company to economically empower 5 million women within its value chain by 2020.

The Coca-Cola 5by20 STAR Program was implemented in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). It is designed for women micro-entrepreneurs who own and manage sari-sari stores or carinderias to address the barriers they face to help them achieve business success. The STAR Program has three components: access to training, access to resources, and access to peer mentoring.

The STAR Program has 390 accredited facilitators teaching and training women retailers to become better entrepreneurs and is currently being implemented in over 47 locations nationwide.

Coca-Cola, with its 19 manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, and over 10,000-strong labor force, continues to be proactive in promoting women empowerment through the 5by20 Program.

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