Coke, TESDA launches S3TAR program

The Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines (CCBP) and TESDA Region III launches the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (S3TAR)Program that shall benefit at least 4,000 women owner and operators of small sari-sari stores (SSS) in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Tarlac.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed by the officials of CCBP, TESDA-Central Luzon, local chief executives, and various women organizations from the four provinces. Governor Victor Yap spearheaded Tarlac’s contingent.

“At Coca-Cola, we recognize that women are potential engines of economic and community development that is why we fully support programs that promote women entrepreneurship competencies,”said Gilda Patricia Maquilan, lead S3TARProgram convener and head of the Coke-National Program Management Team (NPMT). Aashim Malhotra, Regional Director of CCBP for North Luzon added that the partnership between CCBP, TESDA, local government units, and the civil society is a unique opportunity and an innovative way to sustain the communities that CCBP serves.

The program aims to transform women SSS owners into better entrepreneurs by providing training on Basic Entrepreneur Skills and Gender Sensitivity, access to product capital and store merchandising equipment.

For TESDA-NPMT Chairman Ernesto Beltran, the program upholds TESDA’s mandate to provide quality and gender-sensitive training to Filipinos. On the other hand, TESDA-Central Luzon Regional Director Teodoro Gatchalian explained that knowledge and skills proficiency plays a very important role in the success of every entrepreneur. “The basic entrepreneurship training will be handled by our team of trainers and experts in the four provinces identified under the program,” he said.

Research indicates that women, when given the opportunity to earn income, are more likely to invest in education, nutrition, and health needs of their children. In turn, the investments contribute to the development of viable solutions that help break the cycle of poverty.

At least three mayors are present during the launch: Mayors Lorna Silverio of San Rafael and Paula Carla Tan of San Ildefonso, Bulacan and Mylyn Pineda of Lubao, Pampanga. So far, at least 10 women groups from the four provinces have signed up to join the program.

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