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Coca-Cola promoting women's economic empowerment

Released at: 14:55, 01/10/2017 APEC Viet Nam 2017

Coca-Cola promoting women's economic empowerment

Photo: Coca-Cola Vietnam

Beverage giant addresses recent 2017 APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy.

by Hong Nhung

Coca-Cola Vietnam, via its 5by20 program, attended the recent 2017 APEC Public-Private Dialogue on Women and the Economy at the 2017 APEC Conference; in line with its commitment to women’s economic empowerment.

Entitled “Women Entrepreneurs Forum: She Means Business”, the conference was hosted by the Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC), a member of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

As the highlight event of the 2017 APEC Women and the Economy conference, the Women Entrepreneurs Forum served to demonstrate how women’s economic empowerment and inclusion in the regional economy remains high on the agenda of both APEC and the Vietnamese Government.

With challenges and barriers to women’s economic integration still present, the forum heard of ways to create greater opportunities for women’s economic inclusion.

During her address in the panel session on women’s economic, financial, and social inclusion as a driver for sustainable and inclusive growth, Ms. Stacey Valy Panayioutou, Global Head of Talent and Development for Coca-Cola, underscored how investing in women can spur sustainable economic growth and development.

“We have seen that unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of women is one of the most powerful ways to help families and communities prosper,” she said. “Over and over, studies have found a direct correlation between women’s empowerment and GDP growth, business growth, environmental sustainability, improved human health, and other positive impacts.” 

She also noted how Coca-Cola’s commitment to women’s empowerment is not limited to its system and extends to the local communities where the company operates in more than 200 countries worldwide, with a focus on entrepreneurship.

“Through our 5by20 initiative, Coca-Cola aims to support the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout our value chain by 2020,” Ms. Panayioutou added. “Launched in 2010, the program has provided 1.7 million women entrepreneurs in 64 countries with access to business skills training, financial services, assets, peer networks, and mentoring through our partnership and collaboration across the Golden Triangle of business, government, and civil society.”

In Vietnam, Coca-Cola implements the 5by20 initiative through its flagship program EKOCENTER, where it runs e-learning training together with the Vietnam Women’s Union and the VWEC. E-learning enables the empowerment of women through practical business management training and highlights the social enterprise model to build on the shared values of business and society.

“Our e-learning program will also go further than offering knowledge, but also provide local women with opportunities to become members of our supply chain,” Ms. Panayioutou added. “Female entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to become suppliers for other female entrepreneurs in the network or retailers of Coca-Cola. We expect this program will lend a hand to the long-term strategy of Vietnam, lifting the economic bar for women and entire communities.”

The 5by20 e-learning programs aim to reach 2,000 women across Vietnam by the end of 2017. Together with VWEC, Coca-Cola plans to continue rolling out the program to three regions in the country, focusing on women at the EKOCENTER.

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