In line with Coke's 5by20 initiative to economically empower 5 million women entreprenerus throughout its global value chain by 2020, Coca-Cola Philippines and its program partners are focused on providing enabling environment to 200,000 women micro-entrepreneurs to overcome the business barriers they face.

In recent years, several 5by20 programs have launched in the Philippines, including the STAR Program and STAR Ka-Asenso for micro-retailers; the WOMEN REACH Program for returning overseas Filipino workers; and, most recently, the gender-responsive entrepreneurship program development for spouses of Filipino military and police servicemen and women in agriculture.

5by20 programs in the Philippines are uniquely positioned to target women at the micro community level and make them part of the Coca-Cola value chain. “Corporations like ours can do more in promoting inclusive business and shared value. We can help in the creation of economic opportunities and empowerment possibilities for women at the base-of-the-pyramid by including them in the business value chain. This can bring tremendous benefits not just for the women, but also to their families, the micro-retail sector and the communities where we operate,” said Diego Granizo, president and general manager, Coca-Cola Philippines.

As defined by the Philippine Business for Social Progress, an inclusive business (IB) is a core business activity within the company’s business strategy that integrates the low-income segment of the base-of-the-pyramid (BoP) within its value chain as suppliers, customers, consumers, employees or even recyclers in a way that creates shared value. IB is designed to deliver financial returns, while addressing systemic problems of poverty reduction and inclusive growth in scale. The IB model differs from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social enterprises in scale of impact, financial returns and investment size.

Anchored in the inclusive business framework, 5by20 programs in the Philippines have enabled the creation of robust Golden Triangle partnerships forged with equally passionate organizations that now include lead anti-poverty government agencies such as TESDA; the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE); the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO); the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Metro Manila; the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and recently, the Department of Agriculture (DA) to benefit women in agriculture. Likewise, strong partnerships with reputable NGOs and microfinacial institutions that include ASA Philippines Foundation, First Community Cooperative (FICCO); Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI); Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation (NWTF); Tagum City Council of Women, Inc. (TCCWI); and recently, with the Congressional Spouses Foundation, Inc. (CSFI) with the intention to develop a gender-responsive micro-entrepreneurship program for the women spouses of military and police servicemen.

“Genuine partnerships like this can only happen when the government, civil society organizations and the private sector fully commit on a common objective to help uplift the lives of marginalized sectors. The combination of expertise, ideas and resources from equally passionate partners have exponential impact that have helped in economic empowerment of thousands of women micro-entrepreneurs across the country. I have seen this partnership in action, I have seen the positive impact of STAR program among our women sari-sari store operators in Davao Region,” said Alma Uy, president, TCCWI.

Golden Triangle partnerships of 5by20 initiatives in the Philippines operate through integrated components that provide access to gender-responsive training, access to resources and access to peer mentoring support to women micro-entrepreneurs. To date, 5by20 programs have been implemented in more than 60 locations, reaching more than 83,000 women micro-entrepreneurs nationwide.

“We want Filipino women from all sectors to see the value of entrepreneurship as one of the available economic opportunities for them. We believe that when women are given the right set skills through training and opportunity to earn income through various business resources, they tend to reinvest their earnings to the welfare of their children and their family. If we help increase the income capabilities of women micro-entrepreneurs, they can become instrumental to breaking the cycle of poverty within families and create prosperous communities,” said Atty. Adel Tamano, VP of public affairs and communications, Coca-Cola Philippines.

Coca-Cola FEMSA sales and commercial team patiently explaining the to women micro-retailers on how they can be included the Coca-Cola value chain through merchandising programs as access to resources component of the Coke-TESDA STAR Program

To strengthen access to resources component of the program, Coke's Franchise and Commercial Leadership (FCL) team developed customized business support that will cater to small and far flung women operated sari-sari stores in the countryside to ensure that they will be included in the Coca-Cola value chain. According to Coca-Cola Philippines FCL Director Manish Chaturvedi, “The recent Women’s Month celebration event in Davao ob March 10 gave us a good opportunity to integrate 5by20 with the commercial aspects of our business by offering uniquely designed bundle product promos. Those women micro-retailers who sign up for the promos will be visited by our market impact team to focus on enhancing the store looks with customized merchandising kits. Together with our bottling partner, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, we shall continue to develop these women operated sari-sari stores so we can grow together as business partners.”

Access to resources component in this year’s women’s month celebration is also supported by Procter & Gamble Philippines through promotional product support together with Coca-Cola products. “P&G Philippines is our industry partner way back when we are working with USAID towards rebuilding the micro-retail industry in Leyte when typhoon Haian struck in 2013, now we continue to partner with them as we fulfill our commitment to help economically empower women micro-retailers in the Davao Region as we work towards integrating them to the core of our business through 5by20 programs,” said Gilda Maquilan, Coca-Cola Philippines 5by20 program lead.

The Philippines has experienced a paradigm shift on how the private sector engages with the BoP population. Traditionally viewed as passive recipients of CSR and philanthropic initiatives, they are now perceived as an important part of the equation that can play an active role in finding solutions in addressing challenges in the community. Coca-Cola Philippines has created programs that help provide economic opportunities for those women at the BoP. By combining social and business objectives, the 5by20 programs in the Philippines are systematically contributing to poverty reduction and inclusivity where all stakeholders benefit from the fruits of development.