FOR a group of hardworking women sari-sari storeowners, Christmas came early this year with the Star Program Christmas Convention (SPCC) on October 13 at the Andres Bonifacio Integrated School in Mandaluyong City.
A project of Coca-Cola Philippines, SPCC is a series of events within October that aims to gather some 5,000 women from across the country whose small businesses began with the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (Star) program.
It was in 2010 when the Coca-Cola Company made a global commitment to economically empower five million women within its value-chain by 2020. In collaboration with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Coca-Cola Philippines spearheaded the development of a local program to enhance the business knowledge and skills of women sari-sari storeowners and operators in order to maximize their profit.
For three years, Star has trained over 30,000 women to better run their businesses in terms of merchandising, cash flow and inventory management.
Supporting the stars
“The Star Christmas Convention serves as culmination of all our achievements for the year, as well as the start of a Christmas celebration like no other,” said Atty. Adel Tamano, vice president for public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola Philippines. “By this time, all the women who will attend SPCC have graduated from four business modules and would be entering the next phase of the program called Access to Resources.”
At the convention, the women entrepreneurs were introduced to various microfinance partners to help them further grow their business. Among them were representatives from Alay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI) for storeowners in Luzon; Negros Women for Tomorrow (NWTF) for the Visayas and Palawan, and First Community Cooperative (FICCO) for participants from Mindanao.
Tamano further explained, “Coca-Cola recognizes the significant role of women in the development of business and communities. In the case of the Philippines, we always find sari-sari stores in every corner managed by women. We try to include them in our value chain development programs and create enabling environments for their businesses to thrive and become sustainable.
“This Christmas season, by providing the sari-sari stores with merchandising support, we hope to drive customer traffic to their stores and increase their sales. As we know, when women earn they tend to reinvest their income for the welfare of their family.”
Nationwide ‘parol’ lighting
On November 8, a nationwide lighting ceremony will also take place to mark the company’s commitment to the project via the “Share Sari-Saring Happiness.”
Every attendee of the October 13 convention were given special parol kits to be assembled, decorated and placed in their respective stores in time for the November lighting.
“This will transform their business into new and iconic Coca-Cola Christmas Hubs,” Tamano related.
For more information, log on to www.coca-cola.com.ph or Coca-Cola Philippines’ official Facebook page