Corporate bits | MGM launches relief program for SMEs

MGM has initiated a SME Relief Program to help local businesses affected by the typhoon to get back on track and recover from the consequent damage.

The gaming operator said in a statement that MGM conducted a survey to help assess the impact of the typhoon on their businesses. 

The survey covered over 220 of MGM’s SME vendors, all under the categories of micro SMEs, young entrepreneurs and Made- in-Macau.  These groups were surveyed as they are most susceptible to losses inflicted by the typhoon. 

MGM’s SME Committee held a meeting to review the survey results and formulate the MGM SME Relief Program, which aims to provide continuous support and reduce the operating pressure on those affected. 

The program consists of comprehensive measures that address short, mid and long-term needs of SMEs.  The initiative includes expedited payments processing and upfront payment to alleviate cash flow needs, logistical support and assistance with minor to major damage.  

Data shows that over 60 percent of its SME vendors encountered significant damage, and thus it will utilize its collective pledge as additional support since the rebuilding will take time.

Daimler backs car-sharing startup under pressure from Hertz

Automotive giant Daimler AG and South Korean conglomerate  SK Holdings Co. led a USD92 million investment in Turo Inc., a startup that lets people rent out their personal cars. The funding could help the young business withstand incursions from traditional car-rental companies.

More than 4 million people use Turo’s marketplace to swap cars for a daily fee. Owners list their vehicles on the site for renters hunting for a discount or a specific model to drive. Once there’s a match, the users pick a time and meeting place to exchange keys. The San Francisco-based company takes a 25 percent cut of transactions.

The new funds will go toward growth in Germany, where Turo will take control of Daimler’s struggling Mercedes auto-sharing service Croove, and throughout Asia. The investment values the nine-year-old company at about $700 million, nearly double the last round, said Chief Executive Officer Andre Haddad.

Traditional car-rental companies have Turo and its competitors, Drivy and Getaround, in their sights. They believe car-sharing services are illegal because the businesses skirt tourism taxes. The American Car Rental Association, a lobbying group for  Enterprise Holdings Inc.,  Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and other industry giants, is pushing lawmakers to eliminate what it sees as an unfair loophole. “Car sharing is a car-rental business model and thus, should pay all appropriate taxes,” said Sharon Faulkner, executive director at the trade group.

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