5by20™ enabled more than 513,000 women entrepreneurs in 2016 for a total of more than 1.75 million since 2010.

Overwhelming evidence indicates achieving equality and empowerment for women entrepreneurs has immediate impacts that benefit them directly as well as society and the economy. As pillars of communities, women invest a sizable portion of the income they earn on the health and education of their children and in their local economies, creating a tremendous economic impact.

“In 2016, 5by20 expanded by 41 percent in total, reaching over 513,000 women, and broadening into four new markets: Australia, Guatemala, Italy and Poland."

Women around the world have long been critical contributors to Coca-Cola’s business system, and they often face significant barriers to realizing their own economic empowerment. To help women entrepreneurs overcome some of their most common challenges, in 2010 we introduced 5by20, a program designed to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women by 2020.

In 2016, 5by20 expanded by 41 percent in total, reaching over 513,000 women, and broadening into four new markets: Australia, Guatemala, Italy and Poland. Since 2010, 5by20 has reached more than 1.75 million women across 64 countries.

Meet the Women of 5by20

5by20 participants are producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, recyclers and artisans. The program provides business skills training; access to finance and assets; and networking and mentoring—the necessary enabling tools for businesswomen to succeed.

In Kenya, 5by20 artisans at Acacia Creations create fun, environmentally conscious decorations for profit, transforming Coca-Cola beverage packaging and unused telephone wire into “canimals,”such as giraffes, elephants, dinosaurs and reindeer. Acacia Creations has helped connect more than 1,000 artisans across six countries with a global marketplace to sell their jewelry and home décor. 

5by20 artisans create decorations, transforming and recycling Coca-Cola beverage packaging into “canimals,” such as giraffes, elephants, dinosaurs and reindeer.

Further south lives Gape, a 28-year old owner of a fast food stand, who has been applying advice from 5by20, such as a willingness to accept feedback and desire for continuous improvement, to grow her career. Gape, along with many other women, inspire others, includingd four journalists who traveled to South Africa in 2016 with Coca-Cola and UN Women to see how 5by20 is improving women’s businesses and their overall lives.

That is also the case in Spain, where women have been hit hard by high unemployment rates. There, Project GIRA Women is helping women between ages 23 and 55 develop skills and gain confidence to reinvent careers and start their own businesses, many with potential to link to Coca-Cola's value chain. In North America, women of various cultures, backgrounds and races also face barriers to becoming successful business owners. Coca-Cola supports six programs in the United States that contribute to 5by20 goals: The Adelante Movement, In the Black, Impact OdysseyNational Council of Negro Women and Supplier Training & Empowerment Program. Through these and other programs across North America, nearly 50,000 women have been enabled by year end 2016.

“5by20 participants are producers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, recyclers and artisans. The program provides business skills training; access to finance and assets; and networking and mentoring—the necessary enabling tools for businesswomen to succeed.”

Partners Make Progress Possible

While we are proud of our work to date, there are 3.3 million more women entrepreneurs to reach to meet our goal. Key partnerships have helped 5by20 advance and will continue to be necessary to realize the goal. Collaborations with UN Women, Mercy Corps, TechnoServe, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank and hundreds of other organizations around the world makes women’s economic empowerment programs possible, and better positions participants for success.

Evaluating and Evolving toward Success

Understanding what has and hasn’t worked for 5by20 is critical to achieve its goal. In 2016, with Babson College, we launched “Unleashing the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs,” a report analyzing progress, challenges, strengths and the outlook for 5by20. Lessons learned and opportunities identified cover local leadership engagement, linking business benefits, local and global partnerships, and emerging technology.

We also worked with UN Global Compact, UN Women, Inter-American Development Bank and others in 2016 to create a Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Gap Analysis Tool. The tool will support WEPs implementation, help companies identify gaps and opportunities in gender equality policies and practices, and benchmark progress.

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