Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

Academia Truck Driving School

Entrepreneurial goal: George and Sandra Avitia would like to increase enrollment at their school, founded in September 2010 on Chicago’s South Side. Those who complete their comprehensive program receive a commercial driver’s license. There is currently a nationwide shortage of truck drivers and high unemployment among those in Academia’s target market, so there is a large demand.

Key challenges: The Avitias have little business background: He is a firefighter and she is a registered dietitian. There are 12 truck-driving schools in Chicago, so this is a highly competitive sector. They have tried to compete by offering their program at a lower cost, but other schools have lowered their tuition in response.

Quinlan team’s business plan:

  • Build enrollment: offer a full-time schedule of classes.
  • Improve cash flow: start a payment plan with a discount for paying the total cost of the program upfront.
  • Increase exposure via their website, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • Launch a “Let’s Get Back to Work” marketing campaign that shows how Academia’s program can lead to a steady job paying high wages.
  • Partner with trucking companies to place students in jobs.

“Our team was extremely pleased with how the marketing campaign came together,” says team leader Kyle Wilcoxen, who is pursuing an MBA with concentrations in Marketing and Entrepreneurship. “Finding a way to communicate to the target market how Academia can help them get back to work was very rewarding.”

Client’s response: “The team’s business approach has opened my eyes and offered a fresh perspective,” says Sandra Avitia. “It has motivated me to want to do it.”

What’s next: The “Let’s Get Back to Work” banners are ready to go up. Avitia plans to work further with the team to see which parts of the operations plan they can implement soon.

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