The Entrepreneur Educational Center, Inc. (EECI) has released tangible positive outcomes from its pilot “Miracle’s Young Adult Entrepreneur Program” (MYAEP) conducted during this past summer’s L.A. County Parks After Dark (PAD) activities at Ted Watkins Park-Computer Training Center. Following 16 weeks of courses designed to assist and educate multi-cultural entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 26 on the ins and outs of how to start or expand a small business in the greatly underserviced community of Watts and surrounding areas. Commencement exercises were held to present 8 new business owners, and 2 nonprofit agencies, sponsored by EECI.
During a festive graduation held in the park’s Edna Aliewine Room, certificates of Completion from 44th District Congresswoman Nanette Barragan were presented to the newly minted entrepreneurs. Local 33 IATSE literally transformed the room into a former Central Avenue Jazz Club for the event. Activities then moved to the Computer Training Center for a Vendor Faire, so their items could be purchased. Goods and services ranging from apparel to nutrition to entertainment and real estate were displayed.
Businesses and services on display were: Mexican and Greek foods by Bags, Blessings and Shreds by Vanessa Kontokanis, Delizioso Italian Soda by Cimberlyn Kwan, Distressed Clothing by Melvin Farmer’s 2 Hungry World, Vintage Organic Clothing by Tatiana Sweat, Real Estate Opportunities by Madisun McNair of MKM & Associates, Non-Profit Community Services by Matthew Carrillo’s Marktown USA and Ambitious Grinds Enrichment Programs by Ronnise Simmons, Skateboards accessories and art by Gato Grip Tape and Mark Carrillo, Womens Hair Tresses by Tyranesha Holmes and Royal Hermanas, and Pearl Chinese Music Station by Michael Kwan.
“Introducing the benefits of small business, prepares these young adults to be future business leaders. Being introduced to business, often in high school, is critical so they can take business courses in college. It opens the opportunity to create employment, and to increase the dollars in the community”, said Barbara J. Stanton, EECI Senior Consultant. “EECI believes the outcomes of its courses will demonstrate the ability of these young adults to identify opportunities, explore their concept’s viability, develop preliminary business plans and become our next leaders in the business world”. Business should be introduced before leaving high school in order to prepare them for real world”, Stanton said.
The MYAEP program is named in honor of 15 year old Watts native Miracle Treasure McGowan, a student at Ánimo College Prep Academy charter school on the David Jordan High school campus. She tragically lost her life in January 2018 to a random gunman while sitting in the family car with her mother who was wounded. “Miracle loved her community, was a tireless volunteer at Ted Watkins Park and had her heart set on attending college and using her skills to give-back and improve the neighborhood she grew up in,” according to Park Manager Tenesha Ware. “Miracle and I planned for her to work at the park while she went to college. Everyone loved Miracle, and her family feels that this program will represent the goodness and upward mobility they saw for her future”.
EECI is a Watts-based non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation founded in 1989 by Dr. Richard H. Buskirk, the late world-renowned educator and Director of the USC Entrepreneur Program; Barbara J. Stanton, his Assistant and former USC Program Specialist, and Bernadette G. Robert, a Vice President at Mount St. Mary’s College. EECI is committed to designing and implementing educational and training programs aimed at economic and cultural development in the Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, Gardena, Southgate and Lynwood and Carson.
The EECI-Miracle’s MYAEP is sponsored by Well Fargo Bank, Cathay Bank, First Republic Bank, Boston Private Bank and Trust, First Credit Bank, EverTrust Bank, Pacific Western Bank, Jenkins, Gales & Martinez, McDonald’s – Patricia Williams franchisee, Popeye’s Chicken – Ed Rice franchisee, and Local 33 IATSE.