DAVAO DEL NORTE, 18 November 2022—Over 1,500 micro-entrepreneurs from Davao del Norte were awarded Certificates of Completion for finishing the iSTAR Program online in a graduation ceremony held at the Tagum City Hall in Davao Del Norte last November 11, 2022.
iSTAR is the digitized adaptation of the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) Program, a long-standing partnership program of Coca-Cola Philippines with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and implemented with the Tagum City Council of Women Foundation, Inc. for the Mindanao region. In this initiative, micro and small business owners are provided training and access to financial resources, which can help empower them to grow their businesses. Launched in 2021, the iSTAR Program has removed the limitations of in-classroom trainings and diversified its trainees by opening it to existing and start-up micro-retailers across all genders.
To celebrate partnership milestones on women’s economic empowerment in Tagum City that started in 2014, Coca-Cola Philippines commissioned and unveiled the Empowered Woman artwork, which will be on permanent display at the Tagum City Historical and Cultural Center. The event also marked the opening of a roving iSTAR Success Stories Photo Exhibit. The gallery features photos showcasing testimonials of program beneficiaries and key highlights of the program’s economic and transformational impact.
The iSTAR Program is part of Coca-Cola Philippines’ efforts in sustaining economic empowerment initiatives for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). For over a decade, the company has reached more than 250,000 women entrepreneurs in the retail sector across the 17 regions and 81 provinces of the Philippines—giving MSMEs access to skills training and peer-to-peer networks that will improve their business acumen and consequently help break the cycle of generational poverty.