On Jan. 29 2013, The Coca-Cola Company announced the launch in China of its 5by20 initiative, a training and development program for women entrepreneurs.  Working together with the China Women’s Development Foundation, Coca-Cola will initially introduce the project in six provinces, and will eventually expand it throughout the country, helping 500,000 Chinese women to start their own businesses by 2020.

Women are an essential cornerstone for our 2020 Vision, The Coca-Cola Company’s long-term system-wide plan for growth and doubling the business. To work towards the goal of empowering 5 million women by 2020, in November 2012, The Coca-Cola Company announced strong progress, expanding beyond its pilot programs in four countries to launch and scale programs across a total of 12 countries. This expansion includes the launch of 5by20 in China in partnership with China Women’s Development Foundation to provide business skills to female retailers. In addition to offering online training to women that are involved in the Coca-Cola value chain; the initiative will encourage women to register through China Women’s Development Foundation to access the classroom trainings. Upon completing the training program and getting the certificate, the trainees will be able to apply for Coca-Cola start-up loans.

“Women are the pillars of our society. As women are more likely to spend their income on food, education and healthcare for their children and families, improving women’s career opportunities and economic status is essential to spur sustainable economic growth and development. We hope to help women overcome barriers and unlock their untapped potential by providing training, finance and network support,” said Dr. Zhang Huaying, vice president of Coca-Cola Greater China & Korea. “With the influence and reach of China Women’s Development Foundation, we want to encourage more women to participate in the initiative and empower more women to raise their economic and social status and thus contribute to sustainable development of the whole country.”

Coca-Coca has been building sustainable communities through partnership with businesses, government, and civil society. The 5by20 China program with China Women Development Foundation is the perfect example to illustrate how Coca-Cola’s joint efforts with communities can help make a difference.

“The Foundation is committed to inspire and empower women to gain better education and capacity to achieve career success and equal social status," said Qin Guoying, the general secretary of China Women’s Development Foundation. "The Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative is in line with this commitment and our collaboration will benefit our economies and communities at large.”

Jennifer Lai is Editor at Eight Partnership who helps write stories for The Coca-Cola Company in Asia.