Small businesses create 70 percent of all the new jobs in America, and they export more than $1 billion a day, according to the Small Business Administration.
Numbers like those make it clear that small businesses will drive the world’s economic recovery. And the businesses leading the way are the ones that take full advantage of a force that we at FedEx call Access.
Put simply, Access is the ability to connect. Access is powered by anything that makes it easier for people and businesses to connect with each other — whether it’s a smartphone or a computer or the ability to ship a package overnight to anywhere in the world.
Access makes it possible for even the smallest business to become a global enterprise. If you have the Internet and access to delivery systems, the world is your market.
A few years ago, we featured a small business called Kaenon Polarized on the cover of our annual report. Based in California, Kaenon makes high-tech sunglasses, and it reached markets as far away as Australia as soon as it began manufacturing. Kaenon is just one of the thousands of small businesses that have been “born global,” thanks to the increased opportunity Access provides.
The economic downturn brought protectionists out of the woodwork, but the policies they advocate would thwart the benefits of Access. There is no example in recorded history of an economy being successful when it’s walled off from trading with other people. We must not forget that. It has become increasingly important to have access to other products and other people’s ideas.
Enhancing free trade policies around the world nurtures a global marketplace where equal opportunity exists for businesses of all sizes. With Access, the market for your product goes from whatever sliver of your country’s population wants to buy it… to billions of potential consumers. We must work aggressively to protect and increase Access for everyone.
That’s why we work to remove barriers to free trade and investment around the world. With the help of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service, FedEx has developed a trade mission program that helps businesses connect with industry leaders and government officials in emerging markets so they can grow their business and expand their workforce. Participants share best practices, develop market-entry strategies and learn how to best tap into growth opportunities around the world.
Access equals economic growth. We know this because we study it. FedEx has become a student of Access, analyzing its impact on everything from remote villages to small businesses and global corporations.
In 2005, we commissioned the nonprofit research firm SRI International to define the drivers and benefits of Access, and the Access Index® was born. To date, SRI has collected data on more than 20 variables in more than 100 countries. The research proves conclusively that countries with the highest level of Access have the fastest growth in gross domestic product. As a result, we’ve become tireless advocates for Access because our own research shows that Access drives positive change.
We also publish Access Now, an annual magazine that explores the powerful megatrend of Access through a variety of individual, social, economic and global views.
Through all of our work and study, the record is clear: When you give people access to more varieties of products and goods around the world, the pie expands and people’s living standards increase. And when you give Access to a small business owner, you fuel economic recovery.
It has often been said that the roots of the current financial crisis were in institutions that were “too big to fail.” It is increasingly evident that the “shoots” of recovery, both locally and globally, will be found in the world’s entrepreneurs.
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