Coca-Cola Philippines inspires companies on inclusive business
The ever-evolving business landscape is changing once again – but this time, the change, initiated by business leaders, is happening at the base of the pyramid. At the 2nd Inclusive Business Asia Forum led by the Asian Development Bank at its Manila headquarters, Coca-Cola was among the business organizations invited to share their best practices and application of the inclusive business approach into their value chain thru their 5by20 Program. In 2010, The Coca-Cola Company made a commitment to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women micro-entrepreneurs across its value chain by year 2020.
The four-day forum, which was attended by about 250 representatives of government, business associations, corporations, and investors from across Asia, showcased how the inclusive business approach is gaining momentum globally and how other stakeholders can replicate it. The forum discussed how the participants, from both private and public sectors, can create an enabling environment for inclusive business which can create jobs and provide relevant services and goods to low-income individuals and communities.
Unlike traditional corporate social responsibility projects, which are primarily philanthropic, the inclusive business approach creates business models that include the marginalized sector.
During the forum, the 5by20 Program in the Philippines called STAR (Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources) Program, was presented as one of the case studies along with initiatives from Visa, Fujitsu, and Yes Bank.
In 2011, Coca-Cola Philippines rolled out the STAR Program in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). The STAR Program is designed for women micro-entrepreneurs who own and manage sari-sari stores or carinderias. The Program hopes to address the barriers these women face by helping them achieve business success. The STAR Program has three components: access to training, access to resources, and access to peer mentoring.
“Coca-Cola is very much part of communities. So if we grow, our growth must be inclusive. This is the reason why we continue to pursue initiatives that has both social and business impact. The STAR Program is shared value in action. Through our core business of selling Coca-Cola products, we can address one of the key social issues of our time which is women economic empowerment,” said Gilda Maquilan, Sustainability Manager of Coca-Cola and Chairwoman of STAR Program.
Coca-Cola Philippines also established the STAR Center for Excellence facility at the TESDA Women’s Center as the center for innovation to continuously find ways on how to enhance and scale the STAR Program. The center also serves as a venue for the training and accreditation of facilitators to be deployed throughout the country. To date, the STAR Program has 340 accredited facilitators teaching and training women retailers to become better entrepreneurs. The STAR Program is being implemented in over 47 locations nationwide and has reached more than 52,000 women.
“By showcasing our global 5by20 initiative and the STAR Program in the Philippines we hope to inspire other companies to follow and include small entrepreneurs or players in their value chain,” Maquilan added.
More than an exchange of the accomplishments of the various companies, the 2nd Inclusive Business Asia Forum aims to inspire the business sector to create business models that are inclusive for the marginalized sector. ADVT.
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