The Coca-Cola Company, along with the National Urban League and other sponsors, announced a $1 million womenâ€™s empowerment initiative in North America to provide financial literacy, job training, entrepreneurship and business development to women in 10 cities across the United States.
The announcement was made during the ESSENCE Festival, with President and CEO Marc H. Morial, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Founder and President Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Ignacio Salazar, president, SER-Jobs for Progress.
â€œThe ESSENCE Festival brings thousands of people together for one of the most amazing cultural experiences of the summer and this year was no different,â€ said Lauventria Robinson, vice president, Multicultural Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. â€œWeâ€™ve been the presenting sponsor of the ESSENCE Festival for the last 19 years and we were thrilled to return for the 20th anniversary. Our team shared plenty of ice-cold Coca-Cola with ESSENCE Festival attendees throughout the weekend. And, we helped them create and celebrate unforgettable moments with their friends with our Share a Coke and digital celebration wall activations.â€
This year, ESSENCE offered attendees the opportunity to attend a workshop series aimed to empower them to â€œlive their best lives.â€ The Coca-Cola Supplier Diversity team led several â€œEMPOWER Uâ€ discussions specifically to talk with African-American female entrepreneurs. Terrez Thompson, vice president of Global Supplier Diversity, hosted the sessions, which addressed personal leadership and business development opportunities for Africa-American women and their unique challenges as underrepresented business owners.
At the end of the sessions, attendees enrolled in the The Coca-Cola Company Supplier Training & Empowerment Program, or STEP. This program provides entrepreneurs with content on how to do business with our company. Grammy-nominated artist Tyrese Gibson â€“ who credits the start of his 20-year music career to his iconic 1994 â€œAlways Coca-Colaâ€ commercial â€“ also made an appearance.