Connection: The Key to Unlocking the Global Economy
Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO, FedEx Corp., discusses the opportunities that result from connecting with each other and through technology.
It’s predicted that by 2050 our planet’s population will reach 9.7 billion. That’s one-third more mouths to feed around the world. At the same time, farmers are hard-pressed to produce more due to decreasing arable land, higher input costs, and climate change. But Ros Harvey, founder of a company in Australia called The Yield, has developed an application called Sensing+ that helps farmers grow more food. It delivers such data as soil conditions, irrigation, and weather information to farmers who, in turn, maximize their crop yields and lower their own financial risk. The result: more food for everyone and higher profits for producers.
This example of connection is at the core of human and technological experience. In connecting with other people, we share ideas, forge relationships, and create well-crafted, collaborative solutions. In connecting through technology, a world of speed, convenience, and achievement opens up for all of us.
From day one, FedEx has built its business on connections. We’re at the nexus of the global economy and link people to possibilities around the world. Because of that, from the beginning, we’ve been on a quest to innovate on behalf of our customers. Their goals become our goals.
For example, customers in select metro areas who need their goods delivered very quickly can use our FedEx SameDay® City service to receive their shipments in a matter of hours. Medical customers who need drugs delivered at constant temperatures can use SenseAware®, a FedEx innovation, which monitors temperatures and sends alerts during shipment. For those who want to manage their packages from their mobile devices, we offer FedEx Delivery Manager®, which allows customers to schedule deliveries and choose from several delivery options. Recently, we’ve partnered with Walgreens to enable customers to pick up their packages at more than 7,500 of the company’s locations.
Now a new breed of entrepreneurs, with great expectations and greater access to enabling technology, is on the rise.
Harvey is one of hundreds of thousands of Young Innovators who are a growing force in the world economy. A recent survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit reveals what makes them tick.
- These entrepreneurs prize their connections. They see their digital and physical links to customers as critical to business success. While tech-savvy innovators certainly value new technologies, half of them say social media has been their most important digital tool.
- They see the world as their marketplace, not just their region or country. More than two-thirds of the entrepreneurs surveyed said access to global markets makes it easier to find new customers, and 40 percent ranked geographic expansion as the most important factor to their business’s future growth.
- They highly value education, since an educated workforce can help their companies thrive. In fact, education ranks behind only economic growth as a top passion for entrepreneurs.
- They view the free movement of people and the free exchange of ideas as good for business. Entrepreneurs are crossing more borders in search of both customers and talented workers. Half of them say globalization makes it easier to find capable workers.
- Young entrepreneurs understand the importance of social responsibility, and more than 50 percent have actually made business decisions that put social good over profit.
More than 50%
Percentage of young entrepreneurs who have made business decisions that put social good over profit
We are in a unique position to help Young Innovators tap into the power of the global economy through values that run deep in our FedEx culture and that align with theirs.
- Our networks span the globe — we can deliver to 99 percent of the world economy. That means we can get our customers’ goods to nearly every doorstep in the world.
- We advocate for open trade. Despite rising protectionism, we know that better access to global markets means more customers and growth for businesses, and greater, more economical choice for consumers around the world.
- We know that education is the key to job growth. Technology has eliminated some jobs but has added many more. Educating and retraining workers for those jobs should be a priority of government, educational institutions, and companies themselves. Part of our Employment Pathways initiative supports programs that train unemployed people for in-demand tech and logistics jobs.
- We recruit talented workers from anywhere in the world. Like entrepreneurs who support the free movement of people across borders, we endeavor to have our workforce reflect the diversity of the customers we serve. We are proud to have been named to FORTUNE’s “Best Places to Work for Diversity” list.
- Like innovative entrepreneurs, FedEx believes that social responsibility is an avenue for positive change — so much so that we’ve pledged to invest $200 million in more than 200 communities around the world by 2020. We know that when communities thrive, they spark individuals to create, prosper, and raise living standards around the globe.
Entrepreneurs are a growing force in the world today, one that is shifting markets and ways of thinking. FedEx will be there every step of the way with them, both fueling the power of the global economy and harvesting its benefits to create an even more connected world — one that offers greater economic participation and more hope for what’s possible.