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150 women-owned business challenge reaches mile marker 50 with new trucking start-ups

The collaborative program is now one third of the way toward reaching its initial goal.

Expediter Services (ES) announced that a collaborative program with the Women in Trucking Association to create 150 women-owned businesses in transportation. In welcoming its 50th entrepreneurial participant, the 150 Business Challenge further established its credentials as an effective and reliable 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.

In using infrastructure developed through the expertise of ES, women who would like to learn more about how they can start and grow a trucking operation now have the opportunity through the 150 Business Challenge to launch their own small businesses as owner-operators and fleet owners in a trucking market that, according to the latest industry estimates, has a shortage in excess of 50,000 people behind the wheel.

Participants in the 150 Business Challenge have access to competitive market-rate truck financing, a broad range of new equipment choices and fuel discounts. ES also provides participants with industry-leading support featuring a maintenance program and operational expertise as well as back-office services and business planning assistance.

“The Business 150 Challenge is fast becoming the kind of impactful program that is beginning to shatter the glass ceilings that have existed for women entrepreneurs in the trucking industry,” said Ellen Voie, president and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association. “Thanks to this program being facilitated by the excellent work of Expediter Services and the ES Community, the participants in the 150 Business Challenge are truly being empowered through the access to best-in-class resources and support. The businesses being established and those that are expanding in this program are being positioned for long-term success. We are now one third of our way to reaching our stated goal of helping to launch 150 women-owned businesses in transportation, and I believe this program will continue to make a life-changing difference for entrepreneurs while creating even more momentum across the industry as we move forward.”

The gross revenue generated by the 50 new businesses established through the 150 Business Challenge is certainly one of the reasons for Voie’s optimistic outlook toward the program. When placed together as a group, the operations launched as a part of the 150 Business Challenge are generating a combined revenue total well in excess of $1 million per month, according to officials at ES.

“Our main mission as a service provider is to make sure the participants in our programs, the members of our ES Community, have every tool they need to achieve success in their business pursuits. We have tremendous respect for the Women In Trucking Association, and it’s been extremely rewarding for everyone at ES to see the response to the 150 Business Challenge and the results the participants in the program have realized so far,” said Jason Williams, president of Expediter Services. “The impact of the 150 Business Challenge has not just been limited to bringing women-owned trucking operations into the transportation industry. The great work of the entrepreneurs utilizing the program has created a series of ripple effects. The tight freight market is benefiting from much-needed additional capacity. This is especially important in the expedited market where the additional capacity is often called upon to make time-critical deliveries.”

While the deep scope of the programs developed by ES offers independent contractors, fleet drivers and even new entrants into the industry optimal true truck ownership options, the 150 Business Challenge gives fleets a new approach to provide the kind of non-asset capacity growth that can assist in the efforts to meet customer demand in a tight freight environment. Forward Air and Panther Premium Logistics, a Service of ArcBest, are the participating carriers in the program, offering consistent freight opportunities to entrepreneurs in the 150 Business Challenge.

“We believe that women coming into the industry will serve as a very important part of answering the challenge of the driver shortage, and it’s been great to see the response to a program in which women can become owner-operators and fleet owners,” said Nick Burch, director of recruiting for Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ArcBest. “Expediter Services does a great job of coaching and providing all of the necessary support. We have been impressed by the ability of ES to find and to work with people who have the drive to be successful. We have certainly seen that type of drive in our fleet with the participants in the 150 Business Challenge.”

“The programs that ES has designed for offering truck ownership are truly inspiring, and that’s definitely the case with the 150 Business Challenge,” said Ryan Gilliam, vice president of recruiting for Forward Air. “With the exception of a life-changing event, ES has seemingly covered every possible failure point an owner-operator or fleet owner can experience in this industry. They have a passion to see the participants in their programs become successful, and the work that ES has done through this program with Women In Trucking is making a difference at Forward Air and in our industry.”

In addition to serving as a platform for new women-owned businesses, the 150 Business Challenge also has provided existing women-owned fleets with the opportunity to add trucks within a strong economy that has created a heightened demand for capacity. Veteran owner-operator and fleet owner Donna Sleasman accessed the offerings within the 150 Business Challenge to bring additional trucks into her expedited fleet.

“What Expediter Services is doing through the 150 Business Challenge is very important because it is allowing women to be their own boss, create their own business and grow those businesses,” said Sleasman, who has been working with ES for the past several years. “ES serves as the force behind the business owners in the program. They have been a valuable resource to me over the years. As I’ve looked at ways to expand my operation, I’ve gone to ES and they are working with me on a plan to help me move closer to the goals that I would like to reach.”

Earlier this year, Nora Weston worked with the 150 Business Challenge platform to become an owner-operator. As Weston considers the future, she sees growth in the miles and years ahead, stating: “The 150 Business Challenge has been great for me in starting my business as an owner-operator. Expediter Services has given me all the support I have needed, and I am ready to grow. I would like to work with ES and the 150 Business Challenge to build a fleet.”

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