Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Minority Limousine Operators of America (MLOA) held a conference call on Wednesday, March 25, to discuss news, best practices, and friendly advice in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis among its membership. MLOA President Darrell Anderson of A-National Limousine opened the call by letting the members know that board has decided to host an open call each Wednesday at 1 pm EDT, which will offer continuous discussion during the current state of affairs.

After thanking everyone for taking the time to call in, Anderson started the dialogue by providing details of the $2 trillion CARES stimulus package that was passed by Congress in the wee hours of the morning. Each adult in the U.S. will be receiving a check for $1,200 and children will receive $500. Meanwhile, the unprecedented bill will create a $367B loan program for small businesses, and establish a $500B lending fund for large industries, cities, and states. Hospitals are expected to receive $130B, while unemployment beneficiaries will be receiving an additional $600 of federal monies each week for four months. Anderson acknowledged that these funds are very much needed as the ground transportation industry has been impacted even harder than 9/11.

MLOA The next topic of discussion focused on the Small Business Administration (SBA) loans that are available to many in our industry. Anderson encouraged operators to not get discouraged by the online application, and to be diligent and patient while filling it out. When a member mentioned having difficulty with the SBA website, Bruno Teixeira of Limousine Expert suggested that everyone use Internet Explorer when logging in to the site as glitches have been reported with Chrome and other browsers.

MLOA Founder and Board Member Maurice Brewster of Mosaic Global Transportation said that he was able to finish the application in less than an hour, noting that it’s essential that applicants have their personal finances ready on their computer, along with their schedule of liability and personal/business tax returns for the past two years. Having these items handy make the loan process much easier to complete.

Brewster also raised awareness among MLOA of the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act included in the stimulus package. This provision guarantees that money will be allocated to minority-owned businesses. Brewster stated that he hopes to have Ruben Rodriguez, a lender involved with SBA loans, on next Wednesday’s call.

Anderson invited other board members to share advice or tips with the membership on the call. Secretary Tiffany Hinton of Motev suggested that operators be aware and mindful of local and state resources that are available to small businesses. She said that there are many loans currently available, even from Amazon and Facebook. Further, tech companies are offering free resources, citing CISCO’s free conference calling and app Headspace offering free meditation programs, which may help those suffering from anxiety. Hinton also encouraged everyone to download letter templates on the MLOA website, which operators can send to Washington representatives on behalf of the industry. Board Member Nikia Williams of Key Transportation recommended that chauffeurs and staff look into short-term unemployment benefits. Both 1st Vice President Travis Latham of Fellowship Fleet and Brewster directed the attendees to different Facebook groups.

Anderson was enthusiastic about the amount of useful material that the members offered on the call. He believes the weekly conferences will “continue to lift each other and share information.”

Visit mlooa.org for more information.

[03.25.20]