An announcement from the company shares that the FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab — developed in collaboration with nonprofit organization Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF) — is a hands-on program that’s designed to help diverse small business owners create and/or expand their e-commerce operations to innovate their business models.
The FedEx E-Commerce Learning Lab — which is funded by a $1 million grant — was created out of a desire to help support women and people of color entrepreneurs whose businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
As a result of the pandemic and social distancing rules, online shopping has become a wildly popular trend amongst consumers over the last year. However, many businesses were not equipped with a website or online shop to capitalize on this opportunity, especially Black, women and people of color-owned businesses.
“It is no secret that the pandemic has had a significant impact on small business owners, especially women and people of color,” Brie Carere — executive vice president, chief marketing and communications officer at FedEx — said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” she adds.
According to eMarketer, e-commerce volumes grew by 33 percent in 2020. Through this program FedEx hopes to connect diverse small business owners with the tools, resources and experts they need to establish and grow their online sales.
FedEx’s intensive learning program is set up as a cohort for 150 small women-owned businesses and people of color-owned businesses across the U.S. The learning lab will assist each business owner through a series of workshops, one-on-one coaching from e-commerce experts and free technical support to set up virtual stores.
According to a press release, program participants will also receive a $2,000 business grant to launch and grow their e-commerce businesses. Moreover, AOF and FedEx will also develop a series of virtual seminars to speak on more advanced e-commerce topics, as well as on-demand virtual learning courses to offer e-commerce expertise.
The learning lab is set to run over the course of five months, beginning this September.
More details about the application process for the program will be available in June.