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Babson College and The Coca-Cola Company have released a Babson-authored report analyzing progress, challenges, strengths and the outlook for Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative, which aims to reach 5 million women entrepreneurs throughout the Coca-Cola value chain by 2020.

The report, “Unleashing the Potential of Women Entrepreneurs (pdf)” finds that at the end of 2015, 5by20 had enabled more than 1.2 million women entrepreneurs across 60 countries, primarily in the retail (91 percent) and agricultural producer (6 percent) segments of the value chain. Women have been enabled primarily through business skills training and access to finance and/or assets. While peer networking and mentoring is taking place throughout communities, it is often organic and difficult to track.

The report provides an overview of 5by20, starting with its multi-dimensional contextual setting: the extensive focus on gender equality shared by governments, NGOs and private enterprise, and Coca-Cola’s commitment to and investment in a broad array of initiatives focused on economic development, sustainability, and social goals. 

Examples in the report of learning to date and potential learning opportunities for the future include:

  • Engaging local business leaders is critical to an initiative such as 5by20 that relies on local actors to initiate and drive programs in the context of their business operations. A key to inducing and sustaining that engagement is offering a solid business case that outlines the reasons why a local business leader should be investing time and money in programs that meet the 5by20 criteria.
  • The opportunity exists for increased learning in analyzing metrics to identify additional potential opportunities to expand the 5by20 approach. This approach is strengthened even further by weaving 5by20 activities throughout the value chain.
  • Engaging leaders at various levels of the business (leadership from corporate and implementation within local business units) works to embed the project throughout all aspects of the company. This shared ownership model provides the foundation for long-term project sustainability, including aligned values, strategic leadership, development of tactics, and the commitment of resources.
  • Engaging with partners also increases the likelihood of successful scaling and sustainability. Local and global partners carry a sense of legitimacy in different ways and with different audiences. Each also brings a a varied t set of resources and expertise, including knowledge of training programs, access to capital, and social networks. 5by20 provides the context to examine how these partnerships are created, function, and evaluated.
  • Some aspects of the programs were developed with specific training attributes devoted to gendered differences identified as potentially relevant to the project. This is an area ripe for further development with the ability to contribute to the larger global discussion on women’s empowerment, particularly through entrepreneurial behaviors.
  • Technology has been an emergent tool of 5by20 efforts, particularly around the use of mobile phones for training delivery at times and locations that suit women with family obligations. Technology offers a means for rapid program scaling, and its use as a knowledge management platform would enhance the ability to identify, evaluate, design, and deliver 5by20 programs.

The report concludes with a review of 5by20’s emergent efforts to measure initiative impact, a summary of key elements that contribute to successful scaling, and lessons learned.

About 5by20

5by20 is The Coca-Cola Company’s global initiative that aims to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company’s value chain by 2020. Specifically, that means the small businesses the company works with in over 200 countries around the world. From fruit farmers to artisans, this initiative aims to help women overcome the barriers they face to business success. 5by20 and The Coca-Cola Company are proud to be giving millions of women opportunities to build their businesses, support their families and build their communities, while inspiring more to do the same. For more information, visit

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options. Our billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages.  More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey, follow us on Twitter at, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, or find us on LinkedIn at

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.

By Shannon Sweeny,, (781) 239-4621 | 12/12/2016 06:00