Beverage giant Coca-Cola will invest $200 million in Bangladesh over the next five years, said the company's global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Quincey.
The investment from Coca-Cola is a recognition of the economic growth of Bangladesh, and the company is committed to developing its business here in a sustainable manner, he told a press briefing in the capital during his maiden visit to Bangladesh on Tuesday.
In its long journey in Bangladesh since the 1950s, Coca-Cola has invested $100 million that helped employ over 1,000 local people directly, and more than 13,000 indirectly.
Alongside two partner bottlers, Coca-Cola itself opened a state-of-the-art bottling plant in Bhaluka, Mymensingh a few years ago.
Coca-Cola Bangladesh arranged its global chairman's visit to celebrate the milestone of helping 70,000 women grow as small and medium entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.
Coca-Cola, in partnership with the international development charity United Purpose, is running the Women Business Center (WBC) project – a unique model for women empowerment across a wide range of markets.
Coca-Cola's corporate social responsibility program, WBC, began in 2015 in Bangladesh, and the company expects to turn 1 lakh rural Bangladeshi women into small and medium entrepreneurs by the end of 2020.
At present there are 240 women business centers in three districts – Jamalpur, Khulna and Bagerhat, and the organisers are planning to spread the WBC model across other districts in coming days.
Under this program, the organisers select five potential women to partner for a women business center, and assist them with training, financial support and network for businesses.
Later the five women, under the umbrella of the organisers, train other women in their area to come up with some small business initiatives in a wide range of fields such as agriculture, mobile financial services, and healthcare counseling.
The community engagement begins with generating business ideas, and continues up to marketing of products and services, said the WBC leaders at Tuesday's event.
Coca-Cola's global, regional and national top officials were present at the event held at the Raddisson Blue Hotel in Dhaka.