Women Enterprise Fund and Coca-Cola to Empower over 250,000 Women

The Coca-Cola Company’s Vice President for Global Public Policy, Environmental Sustainability and Social Impact, Michael Goltzman (left) shakes hands with the Chief Executive Officer of Women Enterprise Fund, Engineer Charles Mwirigi after their meeting to renew their partnership to empower an additional 285,000 women by next year at Coca-Cola Headquarters in Upperhill, Nairobi.

Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) and Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa Limited (CEWA Ltd) have announced that a further 285,000 Kenyan women will be empowered in their joint economic empowerment program.

This partnership established in 2014, is rooted in their shared interest in creating a fair and equitable environment to help women overcome barriers and build sustainable businesses. From Coca-Cola’s perspective, women form a central pillar of its sustainability agenda which is linked to their global effort to economically empower five million women by 2020. With 557,000 Kenyan women already impacted through business skills training and access to loans to date, this recommitment will play a significant role in helping women entrepreneurs succeed and thriving communities at large. To make this possible, WEF has renewed its cooperation with Coca-Cola who will be investing Kshs 12.6 million (US$125,000) to support the initiative.

Globally 5by20 has enabled the economic empowerment of 3,278,866 women by year end 2018.

“The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) owned by women are the engines through which the growth objectives of the developing countries such as Kenya can be realized. Despite their potential to create employment, create wealth and develop innovation, women owned MSMEs encounter various barriers as a result many perform dismally and fail. Such barriers include inability to access credit from financial institutions, lack of relevant business information and lack of inadequate entrepreneurship programmes hence investments in entrepreneurship training is critical.”  Eng. Charles Mwirigi, CEO – Women Enterprise Fund.

The public-private partnership aims to address and remove barriers that women may experience in creating economic opportunities by providing access to loans and grants to enable them start and grow their enterprises.  Participants in the program receive business skills training, financial services, as well as access to peer networks through a business club for mentoring and ideas sharing. In 2018, the initiative empowered 161,000 Kenyan women.

 “Women are not only the backbone of communities across Kenya but they also play a crucial role in boosting local economies. The progress made by this partnership to date has been inspiring and encourages us to persist in ensuring that women across the country have access to the expertise, education and support that will allow them to prosper and succeed in business. As we renew our partnership with the Women Enterprise Fund, we intend to continue to address the needs of female entrepreneurs in Kenya as well as sustain our growth towards our 2020 target,” – Michael Goltzman, Vice President, Global Policy, and Environmental Sustainability & Social Impact.

Formed in 2007, the Women Enterprise Fund is a government institution that empowers women socially and economically, through offering subsidized credit for enterprise development. They also carry out capacity building through business skills and value chain training.  The Fund aims to empower one million women in Kenya by end of the FY 2019 / 2020 which is in line with The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 goals. Additional partners in the golden triangle initiative that brings together capabilities from across the private sector, public sector and civil society include Hand in Hand International, Export Promotion Council, UN Women and Jomo Kenyatta University.

When we started with WEF we only expected to get financial assistance but we have also benefited a lot from business skills training that have empowered us to better manage our businesses for profit and business sustainability and we very grateful to WEF and all their partners for the training initiatives,” said Mary Wakarindi, Member; Narindisoi SHG – Starehe Constituency, Nairobi.