Bridging the Gap Between Women and Funding
Thirty women have become small business owners in the trucking industry thanks to the efforts of Expediter Services (ES), in conjunction with the Women in Trucking Association.
To bring more women into the transportation industry, ES set a goal of supporting 150 total women-owned small businesses through the 150 Business Challenge within 12 months.
Through the 150 Business Challenge, ES provides women with access to the funding and resources necessary to start and navigate their own small businesses within the trucking sector. In the past, obtaining funding created a barrier between women and business ownership in transportation. As a result, many women leased their trucks, which took the option of business ownership off the table.
"The reality is that, even in 2018, a lot of women have not established a credit record, and that makes it more difficult for them to get a loan to buy a truck," says Ellen Voie, CEO, Women in Trucking Association.
To bridge this gap between women and funding, ES focuses on factors other than credit history. "We look at attitude, aptitude, work history, and work productivity," says Jeff Tacker, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer. ES also pulls the prospective client's production numbers from the motor carriers for which she works, and creates and analyzes a P&L-style spreadsheet to ensure she will be able to produce positive cash flow.
Two motor carriers—Panther Premium Logistics, a service of ARCBEST and Forward Air—partnered with ES for the 150 Business Challenge. Through these partnerships, ES has been able to make comprehensive assessments of a prospective lendee's success potential as a business owner.
ES hopes to bring on additional motor carriers to participate in the initiative. It is currently working with XPO Logistics, Premium Transportation Logistics, FedEx Custom Critical, ARTUR Express Transportation, and All State Express in other capacities.
More than simply providing funding for woman-owned small businesses within the transportation industry, ES is committed to helping the women behind these businesses prosper. The company provides a wealth of resources such as in-house service coordinators; access to low-cost, comprehensive insurance; and back-office support.
"We are more than just a lender or a truck salesperson," says Tacker. "We are trying to help women create a successful, long-term business. That's our focus and our intention."