Coca-Cola to help finance women entrepreneurs

ATLANTA — The Coca-Cola Company and IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group, have formed a $100 million, three-year joint initiative to provide access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Eurasia and Africa.

The collaboration builds on the synergies between Coca-Cola’s 5by20 women’s economic empowerment initiative and IFC’s Banking on Women program to help address barriers women entrepreneurs commonly face in some of the world’s poorest countries. IFC will work through its network of local and regional banking institutions to provide financing and business skills training to small and medium sized businesses that are owned or operated by women entrepreneurs across the Coca-Cola value chain.

“Women entrepreneurs make significant contributions to emerging and developing economies, yet have lower access to finance than their male counterparts. 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. “We are excited about this opportunity to harness the collective power of our organizations to positively impact women in Eurasia and Africa.”

“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 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.”

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.