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Attending the launch ceremony of a 5by20 project in Beijing are (from left to right): Qin Guoying, the general secretary of China Women's Development Foundation, Zeng Yan, vice-chairman of the All China Women's Federation, Zhang Huaying, vice-president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea, and Chen Xujing, sustainability director of Coca-Cola Greater China.
Coca-Cola announced the launch of its 5by20 initiative in China in partnership with China Women's Development Foundation last month. Provided to China Daily
Coca-Cola provides help for female entrepreneurs with special program
Coca-Cola Greater China announced the launch of a training and development program for the country's women entrepreneurs that aims to help 500,000 Chinese females by 2020.
The 5by20 initiative was started last month in Beijing to show the company's commitment to enabling the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the globe by 2020. It aims to help women entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace by providing retail business training, financial services and assets as well as mentoring support.
The initiative will create opportunities for women to accomplish economic independence, gain more economic rights and improve their lives through education, healthcare and other means, said the company.
"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 spurring sustainable economic growth and development," said Zhang Huaying, vice-president of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea. "We hope to help women overcome barriers and unlock their untapped potential by providing training, finance and network support."
5by20 has joined hands with the China Women's Development Foundation to start the project, which will be initially implemented in the provinces of Yunnan, Shandong, Fujian and Jiangsu, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Tianjin municipality. Women entrepreneurs in the six regions will receive retail business training as well as financial support. The project will eventually expand throughout the country, aiming to help 500,000 Chinese women to start their own businesses by 2020.
When the project was launched globally in 2010, it initially focused on four pilot countries - Brazil, India, South Africa and the Philippines. In November 2012, the US soft drink giant announced it would be expanding from its pilot four countries to a total of 12 nations.
In addition to offering online training, the initiative will encourage women to register through China Women's Development Foundation to access classroom training. Upon completing the training program and getting the certificate, the trainees will be able to apply for Coca-Cola startup loans.
Qin Guoying, the general secretary of China Women's Development Foundation, said: "The foundation is committed to inspiring and empowering women to gain a better education and the capacity to achieve career success and equal social status. The Coca-Cola 5by20 initiative is in line with this commitment. Our collaboration will benefit our economies and communities at large."
Zhang said: "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 the sustainable development of the whole country."
Coca-Cola believes that women are the most dynamic, fastest-growing economic force in the world. "Working with and investing in women is one of the most powerful ways to spur sustainable economic growth and development," said Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola. "I'm excited by the progress we're making toward our goal to empower 5 million women. We are transforming lives and communities, making a profound and lasting impact on global issues and also growing our business."
Charlotte Oades, global director of Coca-Cola Women's Economic Empowerment, said: "Women entrepreneurs around the world are faced with numerous barriers to success. We believe providing access to training, finance and support networks is the best way to help women overcome barriers, unlock their untapped potential and build their businesses in a sustainable way."
In addition to women's economic empowerment, Coca-Cola says it is committed to achieving a harmonious balance between its products, communities and environment. The soft drinks producer says it has made a great contribution to water-resource protection, climate protection, industry packaging and many other environment-related issues to help achieve globally sustainable development.
"China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) prescribes that persistent efforts should be made to build a resources-efficient and environmentally friendly community to transform economic development. Under this guideline and in view of its business characteristics, Coca-Cola found its own path for sustainable development. We will continue to pursue sustainable development, boost investment in infrastructure and carry out sustainability programs so as to fulfill our commitment to China," said Bai Changbo, vice-president for public affairs and communications at Coca-Cola Greater China.
Since re-entering China in 1979, Coca-Cola has invested more than $5 billion in the local market, including $3 billion from 2009 to 2011. By the end of March 2012, Coca-Cola had established a total of 42 bottling plants in China. Currently Coca-Cola employs more than 50,000 people, 99 percent of whom are local hires.
(China Daily 02/18/2013 page22)