MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Expediter Services and Women In Trucking Association said Wednesday that the collaborative initiative between the two organizations to create 150 women-owned businesses in transportation is on the verge of seeing 75 new trucking start-ups generated within the program.
In reaching the halfway mark in a little more than a year following the program’s official launch at Women In Trucking’s 2017 Accelerate Conference, the 150 Business Challenge has become a proven platform that offers accessible financing as well as operational and business support for women who have an interest in a career path within the trucking industry.
Expediter Services first proposed the 150 Business Challenge to Women In Trucking last fall. The program immediately captured the interest of Forward Air and Panther Premium, a service of ArcBest. These two leading transportation companies became the primary participating carriers for the program, and both carriers have benefited from the addition of non-asset capacity in a driver market that, according to the latest industry estimates, has a shortage in excess of 50,000 people behind the wheel.
The 150 Business Challenge follows the proven working model that Expedited Services utilizes in offering truck ownership opportunities and assisting the program participants in establishing profitable small businesses through a variety of support mechanisms found within the Expediter Services community, according to Jason Williams, president of Expediter Services.
Community. professional drivers interested in the Expediter Services truck ownership programs, like the 150 Business Challenge, go through a screening and qualification process, including an evaluation period.
Williams said in addition to looking at work history, it is during the evaluation period program that participants are given the opportunity by Expediter Services to demonstrate their attitude, their aptitude and their work ethic.
“The company’s process for qualifying truck ownership program participants is unique because it places a greater emphasis on a driver’s work history over a traditional credit score. ES offers qualified participants competitive, market-rate financing for professional drivers seeking to own trucks from the leading equipment brands in the industry,” he said.
“We believed that the 150 Business Challenge could help to make a difference in our industry, and it’s been amazing to witness what has taken place in the past year. As an organization, we could not be more pleased with the results coming out of this program,” said Ellen Voie, President and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association. “The 150 Business Challenge has become a true source of empowerment and opportunity for women in the trucking industry. One of the obstacles that Women In Trucking is working to address is to get women involved as business owners in the trucking industry, and the 150 Business Challenge offers the ideal launching platform for those women who have the drive and desire to establish or expand their own transportation operations.”
“One of the founding principles of our company is to be of service and to provide opportunities to people. As we developed our truck ownership programs, we took note of the hurdles women have faced in trucking from a financial standpoint when looking to start a business. By working with Ellen and her team at Women In Trucking and by partnering with Forward Air and Panther Premium/ArcBest, we believed that we could help open the doors to more women-owned businesses while bringing additional capacity into the industry,” Williams said. “One of the most rewarding parts of the 150 Business Challenge for our team at ES has been the opportunity to work with the amazing people coming into the program. It’s been a thrill for us to see these small businesses get started, achieve success and grow.”
The small businesses that have been established through the 150 Business Challenge have established a solid track record of success and growth, according to officials at Expediter Services, who said this group of small businesses started through the 150 Business Challenge are generating a combined revenue total well in excess of $1.5 million per month. Participants have their choice of operating their trucks within expedited, truckload or LTL through Panther Premium and Forward Air.
According to Expediter Services officials, while the program will close December with over 70 total start-ups that have utilized the 150 Business Challenge, the number of deals in the pipeline and the ongoing discussions with professional drivers interested in operating their own small trucking businesses have the program on track to surpass 75 start-ups in early January.
“As we begin our second year with this program, we’re ready for the continued growth we expect to see,” said Williams, who also serves on the board of the Women In Trucking Association. “For our team at Expediter Services, this a grass-roots effort that we approach one person at a time, one business at a time, one truck at a time.”