In 2010, Coca-Cola launched 5by20, a global initiative to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs across the company's value chain by 2020. In 2016, the initiative made it to Dundee in Scotland, where Agate Kasmina is leading a course in catering and business for local women. We spoke to her about the course and why the world needs 5by20.
The 5by20 initiative
The 5by20 initiative in Dundee is all about providing women who have an interest in the food and drink industry with the skills to run their own businesses, and take control of their own lives and their ideas. The goal is to make the entrepreneurs feel more empowered in themselves and their own capabilities.
The course itself covers everything from A to Z in business – from the skills you need to start, down to what you need to do to grow, and everything in between. This includes topics such as finance (necessary, but can be quite dry to some) and marketing (which is quite exciting, and where working with Coca-Cola really helps).
Why I took part in 5by20
I'm the project leader for 5by20 in Dundee, working for Shocase the Street - a local charity who Coca-Cola have partnered with to launch the programme. This means setting up the course, delivering it and making sure everything runs smoothly for the women involved. It was a lot of hard work, but it was completely enjoyable. Having the opportunity to meet and work with plenty of inspirational women, and see their success first-hand, was wonderful.
There are a lot of challenges facing women entrepreneurs. I think the biggest challenge that women face in business is just feeling confident about their own ideas. A lot of the time women feel like they are pushed back, along with their ideas, so what we’re trying to encourage is feeling confident about your idea and taking it forward.
Coca-Cola’s 5by20 initiative is hugely important because everywhere around the world we have women who want to go into business, but just don’t have the opportunity or support to do so. They face a variety of barriers that can be very difficult to overcome. And that’s where 5by20 comes in. The course gives women the empowerment and knowledge they need to be able to achieve that.
I wanted to play my part in helping women do exactly that, and while it certainly had its challenges – finding a time and a place that a good number of entrepreneurs could commit too being one of the biggest – it was a fantastic experience.
What entrepreneurs get from the course
The course is made to be fun, insightful and inspiring. From inspirational speakers, to the freedom to ask for advice on any topic, it’s a great opportunity for new entrepreneurs to find out whatever they need to find out, and meet some amazing women.
Some of the skills that women gain in this course are confidence, business planning, finance skills, teamwork, presentation and more (to name quite a few!). Our entrepreneurs will get a bit of everything as they work on so many different ideas and problems at the same time.
I’ve got some great feedback about the course already, which is wonderful to hear. In fact, there’s not really been any negative feedback so far! The one theme that keeps coming up is that the entrepreneurs discover how much they can learn from one another. Entrepreneurism isn’t about going it alone – it’s about finding the support and the network when you need it. And this course looks to provide that support for any budding entrepreneur.
Three businesses have already opened since we began the course, so it’s good to see the impact it’s having already!
My advice for budding entrepreneurs
Be strong, creative and think outside the box. Entrepreneurism is full of challenges, especially for women, but with the right outlook and support, you can do it.
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