Kicking Up the Kick-Off Transition Program

Kicking Up the Kick-Off Transition Program
Kyle Lonzo, the 26 year old owner of The Kick-Off Transition Program, came to SCORE in 2004 to develop a growth strategy.

He credits SCORE counselors Mitch Morris and Jerry Hicks as being “an integral part of the recent success of the company.”

While a sophomore at Indiana University, Kyle founded The Kick-Off Transition Program in 2000 with his father Lee, a lifelong educator. The company was originally started to help middle school students in making the transition to high school, and has now expanded to help students going from elementary school to middle school.

As President, Kyle oversees sales and operations while Lee develops the curriculum.

When he first came to SCORE, Kyle had planned to expand the program to 35 metropolitan areas of the country. Mitch and Jerry encouraged Kyle to reduce this to 15 geographic areas to help him stay focused and within budget. They also helped him turn his 14-page Word document into what is now a professionally designed and printed brochure that clearly explains the products and services of The Kick-Off Transition Program.

In addition to marketing projects, the team reviewed budgets and costs to be sure the company had the cash to implement its business plan. “They reduced my grand plans to something I could manage and afford,” says Kyle. In the process, they edited Kyle’s 75-page business plan to a manageable 35 pages.

Kyle and his counselors are still meeting, most recently for role-playing where Kyle pitched his program to “Michael Dell,” played by Mitch. Along with Kyle’s 2006 initiative to attract corporate sponsors, like Dell Computers, he also plans on seeking help from SCORE when attempting to attract the company’s first round of investing.

When asked what helpful advice his SCORE counselors had given recently, Kyle said “The realization that, after bootstrapping this business for the last 5 years, I need to borrow money to grow.” In Mitch’s opinion, Kyle “now realizes that he needs to get a more solid financial base, so he can expand the company. Once he gets some financing, I think this will be a very successful long-term operation, doing well by doing good.”

Kick-Off Transition Program ( uses an innovative method of pairing each incoming student with an upper-class mentor for their entire first year of school. The company earns money by selling workshops and training to schools, as well as selling school spirit gear to incoming students and their parents. To date, the Kick-Off Program has been implemented in over 100 high schools and middle schools in 15 different states.