It has been two years since Carmencita Aspiras turned around her home-based business – a sari-sari store she opened to help cover her family's expenses, including her children's allowances and college tuitions.

Like most sari-sari stores in the country, Aspiras ran hers for the first two years based on her own perception of how it should be managed. Completing the Coca-Cola 5by20 Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program in 2014, however, changed the course of both her business and her life.

"From earning P2,500 to P3,000 daily ($50 to $60) by implementing what I learned from the program, my store now earns an average of P5,000 daily (more than $100),” she said.

But doubling her store's daily earnings actually isn’t what struck Aspiras most about the Coca-Cola STAR program. It was how the program enabled her to become a more effective wife, mother and person.

"I was able to let my children finish school, and business is thriving. If not for the program, I wouldn't have the opportunity to be here in front of you," Aspiras said during a meeting on Oct. 10 with John Murphy, president of The Coca-Cola Company's Asia Pacific Group.

Murphy was in the country with other Coca-Cola executives, for a three-day visit. They visited various sustainability programs of Coca-Cola Philippines, including the Coca-Cola STAR Program, and made a stop in Aspiras' store in Barangay Wawa, Taguig City.

Coca-Cola has 19 manufacturing facilities in the Philippines and a local workforce of roughly 10,000. The company promotes 5by20, a global initiative that aims to empower 5 million women worldwide by 2020. Locally, the 5by20 initiative aims to empower 200,000 women through the STAR Program.

"When the program started, people inside and outside the company were wondering if it was possible to empower five million women around the world,” Murphy said during the roundtable in Manila. “Sitting here with you today shows that vision is being fulfilled by people like you. Your stories will continue to inspire us at Coca-Cola to continue with these programs.”