As a mother of four navigating Atlanta rush hours, Amia Guild understood the challenges of transportation. “It can be hard to work a full day and go from one end of town to another,” she said. One afternoon, she showed up at school where kids were congregated outside. “This child asked me if I was his Uber,” she recalls. “It was a scary moment because I realized anyone could show up pretending to be an Uber, and the child would get in the car. I had this vision that families with children need safe, reliable transportation.”
So, in 2015, with one van and inspiration from an old African saying, she established Takes A Village Transportation – “I knew personally it took a village to help me raise my children!” By early 2020, Amia had grown her business to 3 vehicles, serving 42 students daily, plus field trips and group outings – for a total of over 30,000 trips all accident free! Then the pandemic hit.
For Amia Guild perhaps worse than the initial shut down back in March, which forced her business to a halt, was realizing that 5 months later the majority of schools continue their remote learning. With no other option than to pivot and her readiness to implement new technologies, she accelerated her timeline to get a diverse supplier certification and pilot a new App that will enable her to provide service on-demand child transport, similar to larger ride-share platforms. With these actions, she is now a preferred vendor with Atlanta Childcare Services and has acquired a new contract. That, coupled with vital access to ACE’s TA support for bookkeeping, its business preservation program (which included an initial 4-months of debt payment relief) and her participation in the ACE Resilience and Recovery Program (which provided more BAS assistance with our newest educational tool, Initiate, and 6 months additional months debt relief), Amia was able to progress unanchored by short-term debt obligations and put her business in driving gear again.
Guild may observe the speed limit, but she is in the fast lane of entrepreneurial growth. “I believe I was called by God to help families with children,” she says, “and ACE is enabling me to do that.”
“The bank wouldn’t help me with capital, but ACE would. It was so much more than capital, though. My business quickly went from yellow to green. I learned how to balance my books, I hired an accountant, I learned about bottom-line revenue.” Amia Guild
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