Coca Cola to boost women-owned businesses in slums

November 19, 2011
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Program to help reduce barriers faced by women entrepreneurs unveiled/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 19 – One hundred young women from Nairobi’s Mathare and Kawangare slums have been given the opportunity to run their own businesses as part of a global initiative by Coca-Cola.

Dubbed ‘5 BY 20’, the initiative seeks to empower five million women in the Coca-Cola value chain by the year 2020, with tools and skills needed to operate their own businesses.

The local program will be facilitated through a partnership between Coca-Cola, Technoserve and Nairobi Bottlers Ltd called Young Women in Enterprise.

Speaking during the launch on Friday, Coca-Cola’s Group Director for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Eurasia and Africa Susan Mboya-Kidero said the program will address barriers women commonly face by providing access to retail and retail assets among other benefits.

“Technoserve has been training the girls in entrepreneurship providing oversight and counsel to the girls and tracking their progress. Coca-Cola has provided merchandising, sales training, start up product and marketing and selling materials,” she said.

The women will also receive sales support including mentorship and coaching from experienced women distributors.

Over the last three years Technoserve has helped 3700 disadvantaged girls in Kenya, including 800 this year.

The performance of the pilot phase will be evaluated after three months however, Kidero said the women have already shown progress since beginning the program.

“The initial results have been impressive. The girls are selling up to one case a week and in some cases, one case a day Nairobi Bottlers has upped the ante and expanded the portfolio of products that they were giving these girls to sell,” she said.

Coca-Cola plans to expand the program outside of Nairobi, making it a national program in the near future, which Kidero said will help empower local communities by engaging the women.

“Women do about 66 percent of the world’s work, grow 50 percent of the world’s food, but only earn about 10 percent of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property, but will reinvest 90 percent of their income back into their community,” she revealed.

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