They say entrepreneurs are the new rock stars. At Coca-Cola, we couldn’t agree more. We’re forever seeking ways to expand our culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that we began over 125 years ago. We recognize that it is our duty, our privilege, to drive innovation that delivers economic, social and environmental value.

Coca-Cola Startup Weekend

Brainstorming at Coca-Cola Startup Weekend

Over the past several years Coca-Cola has put forth a concentrated effort to create breakthrough and disruptive innovation, asking the question “how do we disrupt ourselves?” Answering this question has put us on a journey of innovation - a journey that will guide our company through the next 125 years.

Last year, Coca-Cola began a partnership with an organization called UP Global whose goal is to create vibrant entrepreneurial communities around the world by connecting entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful. We are thrilled to announce that the Innovation + Entrepreneurship team and the International glacéau vitaminwater teams have committed to continuing this relationship by co-sponsoring UP Global’s largest global program, Startup Weekend, into 2015.

"The UP mission is centered on making entrepreneurship possible for everyone - and we are committed to building strong communities to make this a sustainable reality. By 2016, we aim to have a presence in 1,000 thriving entrepreneurial communities. Partnerships that support our local efforts but recognize our global impact are what make that goal possible,” says UP Global CEO and President, Marc Nager.

UP Global launches community-based, action-oriented programs that steward entrepreneurship. They are on a mission to “make the world a more innovative and prosperous place, one community at a time.” 

To that end, Startup Weekend is a 54-hour entrepreneurial immersion session where participants learn, network, innovate, pitch, and refine ideas - many of which evolve into businesses. With countless innovation success stories and vast resources to foster entrepreneurial communities on a global scale, The Coca-Cola Company is proud to support UP Global’s mission – a mission that we share.

“We love Startup Weekend because it’s locally oriented, volunteer-driven, and gives us a chance to directly support the communities that are so important to us,” explains Carie Davis, Global Innovation Director for The Coca-Cola Company.  

Coca-Cola Startup Weekend

Rich Robinson pitches his idea at Coca-Cola Startup Weekend.

Across 23 international markets, glacéau vitaminwater strives to “enable the entrepreneur within us all” -  because glacéau vitaminwater was once a startup too.  Local glacéau vitaminwater teams around the globe will be collaborating with Startup Weekend organizers to create unique experiences, hydrate events, and mentor new entrepreneurs as they begin their journeys. Partnering with Startup Weekend offers a platform for glacéau vitaminwater to provide support to entrepreneurs as they take their ideas from napkin to the next big thing. “The partnership is a great opportunity for us to capture the cultural movement that is entrepreneurship, and reinforces our commitment to support it,” says Kevin Burke, Senior Brand Manager for glacéau vitaminwater.

At Coca-Cola, we believe we can all learn how to work with the speed and focus of a startup to continue to drive growth for our business and the communities in which we operate. Over the past year we’ve worked with UP Global to host 4 Startup Weekends inside Coca-Cola that afforded over 300 associates the opportunity to experience lean innovation first hand. Our work with Startup Weekend and their Community Leaders has also provided a conduit to entrepreneurial communities, allowing us to better support innovation while learning from the experts who do this every day.

We’re thrilled to empower entrepreneurs around the globe - and look forward to continuing the journey.

Want to get involved? Here’s how: