Women entrepreneurs in Africa and Eurasia have a new reason to have a Coke and a smile—actually, 100 million reasons. Coca-Cola and the International Finance Corporation just announced a $100 million, three-year joint initiative to provide access to finance for women entrepreneurs in emerging markets.
The program specifically targets small and medium-sized businesses—owned or operated by women—that are in the existing Coca-Cola value chain. The IFC plans to tap its network of local and regional banking institutions to increase available capital and provide skills training.
“Women entrepreneurs represent significant untapped economic potential in developing countries—they are essential for creating jobs and achieving sustainable growth,” said James Scriven, IFC Director of Financial Markets. “This innovative partnership with Coca-Cola will help expand access to finance for thousands of women who are part of the company’s supply and distribution chain.”
Coca-Cola is positioning the initiative as part of its efforts to make good on its promise to enable the economic empowerment of five million women across its own global value chain by 2020—also known as its 5 by 20 program.
“By providing greater access to capital, we are investing in our own success and the success of the communities we serve,” said Nathan Kalumbu, president of Eurasia and Africa Group, The Coca-Cola Company.
Work related to this initiative is already beginning in Nigeria. Coca-Cola and IFC are working with Access Bank to provide financing to women micro-distributors (MDCs) in the Coca-Cola value chain, in close collaboration with Coca-Cola’s bottling partner, Nigerian Bottling Company.
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