Some 1,000 women retailers being taught to be good entrepreneurs under the Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program came face to face with the man dubbed as among the world’s greatest entrepreneurs — Muhtar Kent, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of The Coca-Cola International Company.
Kent, together with executives from the beverage firm, witnessed the graduation ceremony of women sari-sari store and carinderia owners who have undergone training under the STAR Program, a partnership of Coca-Cola Philippines and the Technical and Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The program is part of the Coca-Cola Company's goal to economically empower five million women within its value chain by year 2020. It aims to provide access to skills training, resources, and peer mentoring to 200,000 women sari-sari store and carinderia owners and operators all over the country by 2020.
TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva thanked Kent and other top executives of the Coca Cola Company for continuing to put premium on women as movers of businesses.
"Mr. Kent's belief in empowering women within and outside the walls of Coca-Cola has produced an army of entrepreneurs in Philippine communities," Villanueva said.
"We hope to make the entrepreneurial spirit flourish that will result in sustainable livelihood and improved lives," he added.
A total of 34,589 women retailers have already graduated since the STAR Program was implemented in the country in 2011 up to July this year.
The qualified women scholars under the program undergo free basic entrepreneurship training and gender sensitivity training for four hours a week or equivalent to 48 hours for a duration of 12 weeks.
Training kits are also provided for free to all trainees which will be used eventually to enhance their capacity as entrepreneurs in their respective communities. After training, beneficiaries will have more chances to avail of soft loans from the micro finance institution, if they so desire to increase capital to expand their business.
The graduation ceremony of the program scholars took place on August 17 at the Covered Court of the TESDA Complex.
Kent will be in the country from August 17 to 19 to visit various Coca-Cola social responsibility projects throughout the country.
He was accompanied in the TESDA event by Ahmet Bozer, Coca-Cola International president; Lain McLaughlin, Coca-Cola ASEAN Business Unit president; Atul Singh, Coca-Cola Asia Pacific president; Diego Granizo, Coca-Cola Philippines president and general manager; and, Adel Tamano, Coca-Cola Philippines vice president for public affairs and communications. END