The 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.
The 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 thrive communities at large.
WEF has renewed its cooperation with Coca-Cola who will be investing 12.6 million shillings to support the initiative. Globally, 5by20 has enabled the economic empowerment of 3,278,866 women by end of 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,” Mwirigi, CEO Women Enterprise Fund said.
The WEF CEO also noted that despite their potential to create employment, create wealth and develop innovation, women-owned MSMEs encounter various barriers and as a result, many perform dismally and fail.
“Such barriers include the 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 said.
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 to 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,” Vice President, Global Policy, and Environmental Sustainability & Social Impact Michael Goltzman said.
“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,” Goltzman added.
Formed in 2007, WEF is a government institution that empowers women socially and economically by 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.
“When we started with WEF, we only expected to get financial assistance but we have also benefited a lot from business skills training that has empowered us to better manage our businesses for profit and business sustainability and we are very grateful,” said Mary Wakarindi, a Member of the Narindisoi SHG – Starehe Constituency said.