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Miracle’s Entrepreneur Program (MEP) is having a grand opening from 2 to 5 p.m. on April 24 at the Quarles Business Opportunity Center, 10124 S. Broadway, Ste 200.

The program has received funding from local banks and they have applied for ERDL from the U.S. Small Business Administration. They’ve purchased PPE equipment and a tent for the building’s patio, along with 15 laptops and desks, spaced out for physical distancing.

Under the administration of the Entrepreneur Educational Center, Inc., (EECI) run by Barbara J. Stanton, MEP and other projects are aimed at providing economic development resources to residents in Los Angeles County’s second district. Stanton believes that small business creation or expansion of businesses is key to employment, stopping the leakage of revenue from the area, and improving the future of the community.

EECI has provided a pathway for education and economic development for youth and young adults since 1994. EECI’s primary target audience resides in the underserved communities of Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, Carson and South Los Angeles.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way certain goals are achieved, it has not changed EECI’s determination to assist aspiring or existing small business owners reach their benchmarks. EECI’s COVID-19 initial response focused on providing resources to certified graduates of its “Miracle’s Entrepreneur Program” to navigate the uncertain waters of a virus-disrupted economy and its impact on the underserved communities they are seeking to improve.

The EECI mission is “To nurture and promote entrepreneurship and small business creation/expansion in the underserved communities of Los Angeles, California by providing assistance, education, consulting and mentorship for multi-cultural entrepreneurs, youth-at-risk, and ‘handicapable’ entrepreneurs, to start or expand small businesses where they live.”

Stanton says the center hopes to produce clients that emulate the example left by the famous builder whose name is on the building. The brown stucco office facility with the distinctive red clay roofing on the southeast side of Broadway is well known to residents as Rep. Maxine Waters’ former field office.

The building, erected in 1971, is also distinguished as being the first of many built by renowned African-American real estate developer Charles O. Quarles, president and CEO of the Bedford Group of Companies, one of Los Angeles’ leading real estate development firms.

Quarles established a reputation for his comprehensive expertise in developing successful urban infill communities that brought services, jobs, and affordable housing to the underserved.

“Mr. Quarles’ amazing entrepreneurial spirit and body of work is what EECI and Miracle’s is looking to unlock in others who feel they have the potential to plant and then grow the seed of a business that will serve them, their family and most of all, their community, if only they had a bit of support to get started” Stanton said. “That’s what we offer.”

The business incubator used to be located in Ted Watkins Memorial Park, a 28-acre area in Watts named after the founder of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC). It was closed last year due to the pandemic.

MEP moved to the Broadway location when Waters moved her office from that street to Crenshaw Boulevard earlier this year. MEP itself is named after a young girl who lived by the park.

“Miracle was 15 and lived by Ted Watkins Park in Watts,” said Stanton, who explained that the youngster was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting.

The free or low-cost training includes a workspace, mentorship, expertise, access to investors, and in some cases, working capital in the form of a loan. Beneficiaries will work around other entrepreneurial businesses, often with a similar focus as theirs.

For enrollment information and additional information, visit www.entrepreneureducationalcenter.org or call (323) 757-7506.