When the 150 Business Challenge was first launched in November of 2017, the collaborative program between Expediter Services (ES) and the Women In Trucking Association (WIT) set out to achieve the goal of assisting in the creation of 150 women-owned businesses in transportation. As the program enters its fifth year, the 150 Business Challenge has become a true vehicle of change within the trucking industry, helping in the launch of 132 women-owned businesses.
“Back in the fall of 2017 when we partnered with Expediter Services to launch the 150 Business Challenge, we had high hopes that this program could be a difference maker for creating true ownership opportunities for women in the trucking industry, and the results speak for themselves,” said Ellen Voie, President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association. “Through this program, ES has helped aspiring women entrepreneurs by removing some of the most trying obstacles when it comes to starting a business in trucking.”
The 150 Business Challenge follows the proven working model that ES 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 ES Community. Professional drivers interested in the ES truck ownership programs, including the 150 Business Challenge, go through a screening and qualification process that also has an evaluation period.
In addition to looking at work history, it is during the evaluation period program that participants are given the opportunity by ES to demonstrate their attitude, their aptitude and their work ethic. The process that ES utilizes 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.
One of the features of the 150 Business Challenge is the opportunity for program participants to drive as an owner-operator for one of the partner carriers in the ES Community. Members of the 150 Business Challenge are now a part of the fleets at FedEx Custom Critical, Forward Air and Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ArcBest. As part of the additional support that is available, ES also provides program participants access to a complete set of services and discounts through the ES Community that cover the key areas of fuel, maintenance, insurance and back-office support. Other services and discounts are also available through the ES Community.
“Over the years as we have developed our programs, we took note of the hurdles women have faced in trucking from a financial standpoint when looking to start a business, and that was part of our inspiration for launching the 150 Business Challenge,” said ES President and Co-founder Jason Williams. “As business owners ourselves, we understand and appreciate what it takes to push through challenges in order to achieve your goals. We believe in entrepreneurs, and part of our mission at ES is helping people by placing them in the best position to make the most of an opportunity to successfully run their own business.”
Long before the collaboration with WIT on the 150 Business Challenge, ES had established a reputation in the industry for opening doors for women who are seeking to become business owners in trucking. Today, the number of women within the ES Community who are fleet owners, owner-operators or independent contract drivers involved in the programs offered by the company now exceeds 38 percent of the ES fleet.
“Since I first met with the leadership team at ES several years ago, I could see the commitment they have as a company for opening the doors of ownership opportunities in the trucking industry to everyone,” said Ellen. “When we look at the impact that the 150 Business Challenge has made since 2017, this program has become a platform for success because ES offers women more than the opportunity to buy a new truck. This is a truly comprehensive offering that delivers access to the support that business owners need to prosper and grow. ES has done an amazing job with 150 Business Challenge, and we’re looking forward to seeing the next steps for this program.”