Brazil: Welcoming the World
Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful city. Vibrant, green and full of diverse people and ideas! As a first-time visitor to Brazil, I’ve quickly seen why this nation is entering the world stage in 2014 and 2016 via the World Cup and Olympic Games. The irony of Brazil is the lack of access. As the country prepares to welcome people from all nations into its borders, Brazil must modernize to become a nation with more openness – to trade, to people and to ideas that can shape its future.
Last night, as I stood on the shore of Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, I was looking at the world’s largest Christmas tree. I was there with over 100 students from across Latin America, coming to Rio to complete for the JA Americas Company of the Year. During the evening, the Executive Director, Wilma Resende Araújo Santos, shared the following message:
We all know that the students who decide to do this program have important and huge chances to understand what entrepreneurship means. The principles of economics are reinforced and they are prepared to be responsible for their own life. We are creating a work force for a global market and we are developing leaders who will nurture a new culture which is entrepreneurship with a modern vision where education is the pillar of true development. Junior Achievement is constructing this future.
These words have stayed with me all night and today as I watch the JA Americas Trade Fair. Not only have these students created and their own companies, making and selling products, issuing stock and shareholder returns; but they have opened a door into a brighter future. These students will change their communities, their nations and their region, all through the power of business and entrepreneurship.
Time and time again, students have come to me and my colleagues at FedEx (including Matt, Gui, Denise, Luiz, Glaucia, and more) to share their enthusiasm and gratitude. They are learning, sharing and applying what they are learning about how to run a business in a globalized world, leveraging global trade to better source and market their products. They find innovative solutions to reduce the impact of their products on the environment.
As the evening concluded and we headed home, I realized that Brazil’s future was bright. Not just because of the global events coming to their shores, but because of a motivated and driven group of students who are determined to use business to change the world.