It has been two years since Carmencita Aspiras turned around her home-based business – a sari-sari store that she used to help augment her family’s daily finances, including the allowances and requirements of her children who were earning their college degrees.
Like most sari-sari stores in the country, Aspiras ran it for the first two years based on her own perception of how the business ought to be managed. But joining and completing the Coca-Cola 5by20 Sari-sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program in 2014 changed the course of her business, and her life. “From earning P2,500 to P3,000 daily, by implementing what I learned from the program, my store now earns an average of P5,000 daily.
More than doubling her store’s daily earnings, Aspiras said that what struck her most in the Coca-Cola STAR program was how it helped her become a better wife, mother, and person. “I am what I am today because of the (Coca-Cola STAR) program. I was able to let my children finish school, business is thriving, and if not for the program, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be here in front of you,” Aspiras said during a roundtable meeting with John Murphy, the president of the Asia Pacific Group of The Coca-Cola Company.
Coca-Cola, with its 19 manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, and over 10,000 strong labor force, is proactive in promoting women empowerment through 5by20, a global initiative that aims to empower 5 million women worldwide by the year 2020. Locally, the 5by20 initiative targets the empowerment of 200,000 women through the STAR Program.
“It’s an honor for us to be here with you today. When the program was started, people inside and outside the company were wondering if it was possible to empower five million women around the world. Sitting here with you today shows that vision is being fulfilled by people like you. And your stories will continue to inspire us at Coca-Cola to continue with these programs,” said Murphy who was in the country along with other top executives of Coca-Cola for a three-day visit.
Murphy visited the various sustainability programs of Coca-Cola Philippines, particularly the Coca-Cola STAR Program. Earlier in the day, he visited Aspiras’ store in Barangay Wawa, Taguig City.
In that meeting, Murphy was joined by 10 women micro-entrepreneurs who have completed the Coca-Cola STAR Program as well as officials from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), led by Deputy Director General Rebecca Calzado.
The Coca-Cola STAR Program is implemented in partnership with TESDA, where women around the country can enroll and undergo the Basic Entrepreneurship and Gender Sensitivity Training at the STAR Center for Excellence operated and managed at the TESDA Women’s Center in Taguig City and other STAR Program trainings conducted in the regions.