Coca-Cola has successfully concluded its Saksham training program which reached over 1000 women entrepreneurs from small and medium scale businesses in retail and restaurants, providing them a platform for empowerment and skill development.
‘Saksham’ was officially launched on 8th March 2022 (International Women’s Day), by Coca-Cola along with its bottling partner Bottlers Nepal Limited with an aim to provide equal opportunities to compete in the marketplace. The Saksham program was designed to build the capacity of women-retailers and women-owned small restaurant owners on financial literacy, hospitality, sanitation management and use of digital wallet. The one-day training session was conducted across cities in Province 1, 2,3 and 4.
Ms. Geeta Shrestha from Sauraha shared her experience, “Saksham training is an inspiring session for young women entrepreneurs. I had started by own business with just Rs. 160 about 44 years ago. With my hard work, I have been able to fulfill my dreams where I am now an owner of 2 houses along with a store and proudly able to support my family as a single woman”.
Similarly, Ms. Maya Pandey from Narayanghat expressed, “The Saksham program provides us with skills to be economically empowered and has helped us build more networks over the years. Skill development programs like Saksham has encouraged me in doing business more efficiently’.
Mr. Adarsh Awasthi, Country Director of Coca-Cola in Nepal shared, ‘At Coca-Cola, we believe in a better shared future, and women empowerment is core to our values. We launched the Saksham training program in 2022 where we partnered with a proficient trainer to provide business skills training, mentoring networks, financial services and other assets to help women entrepreneurs improve their livelihoods, families and communities. We are happy that we have crossed our initial target of 1000 women entrepreneurs and will strive to further empower more women in the near future.”
Ms. Sneh Rajbhandari, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Director at Bottlers Nepal Limited shared, ‘Women entrepreneurship has been on the steep rise in Nepal, and there are many small shops and restaurants that are being run by women, especially outside of Kathmandu valley. In an attempt to support women retailers to overcome any challenges they may face, we at Coca-Cola invest in programs like Saksham to help encourage women to grow their business. This program helps in facilitating women business owners to continue and flourish their current entrepreneurial ventures through new perspectives on scaling up.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of Coca-Cola’s values and growth strategy and play an important part in the company’s success. This can be reflected in Coca-Cola’s various women empowering initiatives over the years. In 2010, Coca-Cola globally announced the ambitious 5by20 program which aimed to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million female entrepreneurs across its value chain by 2020. Additionally, Coca-Cola in Nepal has also successfully conducted the STAR (Shopkeeper Training and Resources) program to 5,800 women in retail during the past 6 years.
The initiatives also support the Nepali Government’s aim to achieve substantial gender equality by ensuring equal and meaningful participation of women as announced in the 15th National Plan (2019-2024).