Global delivery giant FedEx has announced the launch of its E-commerce Learning Lab, a new program developed in collaboration with the Accion Opportunity Fund.
The program’s goal is to help diverse small business owners who are trying to develop and expand their e-commerce operations due to the coronavirus pandemic and the reliance on the internet during the pandemic.
The program will have a specific focus on minority and women-run businesses and will provide intense hands-on training to 150 small business owners across the nation through workshops and one-on-one training by e-commerce experts. Small business owners will also receive free technical support in creating and maintaining their virtual operations and stores.
That includes marketing, managing promotions, customer service, managing orders and fulfillments, and product photography support.
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“It is no secret that the pandemic has had a significant impact on small business owners, especially women and people of color. Through our new collaboration with AOF, we are helping to level the playing field and get these small businesses back on their feet, which is especially important as record growth in e-commerce volumes continue,” Brie Carere, chief marketing and communications officer of FedEx said in a news release. “With the launch of the FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab, we’ll not only help individuals meet customer needs in new ways, but also provide comprehensive programming that will equip them with the tools to navigate through these uncertain times.”
According to Digital E-Commerce, consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2020, up 44.0% and almost triple the amount from 2019.
The program is slated to run over five months beginning in September. According to FedEx, the timeframe will allow FedEx to support the program’s participants with holiday marketing and promotions as well as technical support in managing holiday orders.
Participants in the program cannot have a current online presence for their business, must produce and sell a shelf-stable, pre-packaged food product or non-food general merchandise, earn less than $500,000, and be willing to commit to full program participation. Those interested can sign up to be notified when the application goes live in June.
“Together with FedEx, we have the opportunity to help elevate the voices of entrepreneurs that often go unheard,” Luz Urrutia, CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund said. “By offering access to resources and opportunities and providing tailored support, we can prepare these communities for future growth and ultimately develop more equitable economic opportunities for a diverse range of businesses.”
In February 2020, FedEx named Ramona Hood as its CEO, the first Black CEO in the company’s history.