Award winning entertainment industry veterans, Actress, Writer, Producer and Entrepreneur Marla Gibbs and Supervising Sound Editor Greg Hedgepath of the Formosa Group, whose credits include “Straight Out of Compton”, “Selma”, “Starship Troopers”, “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Blade”, are among the presenters scheduled to speak at the upcoming free Wattstar Entrepreneur Collaborative (WEC) Seminar, “Doing Biz with Show Biz: Marketing & Small Business in the Entertainment Industry.” Lillian Conroe, Small Business Specialist, office of Governor Jerry Brown and Musician, Watts Cinema and Education Center Arts Director Del Atkins, along with other representatives from the business and finance industries will also participate as panelists. Registration and information is available at www.wattstar.org.
The seminar, open to the public and hoping to attract entrepreneurs who either grew up in or live within the Watts/Willowbrook communities, is scheduled for Saturday, June 11, 2 pm in the newly renovated Ted Watkins Memorial Park Auditorium, 1335 E. 103rd Street in South Los Angeles. The presentation is part of a series of business seminars sponsored by the (WEC), a coalition comprised of the Watts Cinema and Education Center (WCEC), the Black Business Association (BBA), Pacific Coast Regional (PCR), Southland Partnership Corporation (SPC) and the Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC). The Collaborative goal is to inform Watts/Willowbrook residents of the opportunities and resources available for small businesses. 30 entrepreneurs will be selected to proceed through three months of intensive entrepreneur training and the development of their preliminary business plans.
Once their plans have been completed, the students will receive courses on how to finance their small business; micro-loans for eligible applicants and mentoring on how to become eligible. The objective will be to arm them with the tools necessary to be successful; clearly understanding the funds needed for their start-up; and how to attract their own residents to become their customers.
The WEC agencies bring a vast amount of knowledge and expertise from conducting years of entrepreneurial training in South Central and other communities. VSEDC focusing on business plan development and potential merchants to locate in Martin Luther King (MLK) Shopping Center (which is currently for sale); the BBA with a 45-year history of successfully focusing on women and minority small business development; PCR, the number one financing entity in Los Angeles for small businesses; and WCEC, developer of the Wattstar Theatre Project and a guiding force in the long deferred economic development of the Watts/Willowbrook communities. WEC organizers anticipate the creation of 15-20 small business owners who will be mentored until they are independent owners employing residents from the Watts/Willowbrook communities.
According to Barbara J. Stanton, WCEC President/Founder the groundwork has been laid and there is a need. “The soon-to-be-built Wattstar Theatre and Education Center and the now in transition MLK Shopping Center will clearly need small businesses to support them.” Stanton said. “These seminars present a timely opportunity for entrepreneurs who have a vested interest in the economic development of the Watts/Willowbrook communities to play a major part in the renaissance “.
For additional information on the seminar as well as the seminar scheduled for July, call WCEC at 323-757-7506 or visit www.wattstar.org.