Women in the Philippines represent a large opportunity for national development. Through their Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program, Coca-Cola creates sustainable change in their businesses.
Coca-Cola is on track in its goal to empower 200,000 Filipino women micro-retailers by the year 2020, as part of the widely successful 5by20 global campaign of the company.
Based on numerous studies, women like these store owners contribute nearly most of their income back to their families and
communities. However, while women perform 66 percent of the world’s labor, they only receive 10 percent of the world’sincome. Imagine if these women are given the opportunity to learn, and empowered to increase their earnings. More women will be able to invest in their families’ needs, which then enable growth in their communities.
This is why the STAR Program has been a cornerstone in the company’s efforts in the Philippines to achieve women economic empowerment within its value chain.
By the end of 2018, 154,000 women have undergone STAR Program training with Coca-Cola 5by20 in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and regional microfinance and non-government organization partners.
The effects on their businesses have been remarkable, but more importantly, sustainable. An 5by20 impact study reported that in July 2017, 96 percent of women reported business growth in their sari-sari stores — their income, revenue and inventory size
increased by 12 percent, 17 percent, and 20 percent, respectively.
Baby Aspiras of Taguig City was one of the trainees under STAR. Before taking on the program, she had difficulty paying off her debts to local loaners.
“Talagang lubog na lubog ka sa utang. Pagkatapos kong bayaran ang mga utang ko, wala nang stock ang tindahan (You really accumulate so much debt. After you pay off your loans, you have nothing left to replenish your stock),” she said.
With such tight access to funding for their stores, many entrepreneurs have also had difficulty growing their business.
STARpreneur Ma. Teresa Tomaro of Negros Occidental felt very limited by her means when she first started her store: “Kung ano lang nabibili ko, iyon lang din ang matitinda ko.” (I could only stock my store with goods that I could afford to buy.)
Driven business women like Aspiras and Tomaro are part of the STAR Program for their desire to uplift themselves out of poverty and create a better life for their families. Despite a lack of any form of training prior to the program, they were able to elevate their everyday work to become profitable in the long run.
“Sa training ng STAR Program, tinuruan ka talaga doon ng tamang pag-manage, para mapaunlad ang negosyo (With the training we received, we were taught how to manage our business for it to be able to grow),” shared Aspiras, when asked about how Coca-Cola has impacted her store. Tomaro also spoke on how she has managed to more than double her daily revenues and support her family better.
“Mabibili ko na ang mga pangangailangan ng mga anak ko (I am now able to buy things that my children need),” she said.
Jonah De Lumen-Pernia, director of Public Affairs and Communications of Coca-Cola, is proud of the work the company has done for all of STAR Program’s trainees.
“We’ve wanted all of our trainees to feel confident in their ability to run their respective businesses. This is vital to the financial stability of businesses that are essential to the long-term welfare of local communities. Now, we’re seeing increases in sari-sari stores and carinderia owners’ income, which is a very welcome result. On the way to 200,000 empowered women by 2020, we want to be able to take care of the progress enabled through our empowered women STARpreneurs,” De Lumen-Pernia said.
For 2019, Coca-Cola will have empowered more women business owners across the country, bringing the number of STAR trainees to 175,000. With the help of the company’s training partners ASA Philippines, Alalay sa Kaunlaran, Inc. in North Luzon, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation in the Negros region, First Community Cooperative and Tagum City Council of Women, Inc. in Davao, they are confident that the Philippines’ contribution to the global 5by20 campaign will stand strong at 200,000 by year-end of 2020.