Last month at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Watts, the Entrepreneur Educational Center, Inc. (EECI) held a commencement celebration for its Miracle’s Entrepreneur Program class of 2022. 

Following a three-month Business Plan Development course consisting of seminars, featuring AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles, and classroom instruction, the six new startup business owners received their certification of completion. Those certifications were fortified with a complimentary graduation bag that included benefits like payment of their company DBA license and/or non-profit organization’s registration; design of company logos; business cards; letterhead; and mailing labels.

“It was way better than we expected,” said entrepreneur Alicia Manning, 40, who owns Many Hatz Cleaning Services with husband Travis, 38. ”It was a small class, and fast-track at that.”

The Mannings really appreciated the mentors who were available throughout the program, as they represented so many various areas of entrepreneurship.

“They all have business in other areas, so they helped us out a lot with everything,” Manning said. “It was like hand held — they held our hand all along the way. They also told us if we had any questions whatsoever don’t hesitate to call them and they really meant that. Even after graduation, that invitation was extended. 

“If we need information, or have any any questions, they’re forever our mentors,” Manning said. “That’s very cool and very rare.”

Both of the Mannings were born and raised in South LA. Alicia started the business after moving to Atlanta. She worked with a commercial cleaning companies and clients were impressed with her work and asked her to do side jobs at other sites.

“My family is from New Orleans,” she explained. “We had to clean every Saturday. I think it was a little over-excessive when we grew up, but it was good for us.”

After dinner, her family had to make sure the kitchen was spotless. Sweeping, mopping, wiping down tables and chairs every night before going to bed. If the job wasn’t done correctly, the kids had to get out of bed and complete their tasks.

“You have no idea,” Manning said. “My father and grandfather were in the military as well. So along with cleaning, organization was a must.”

Manning said that home training now comes naturally and led to the founding of Many Hatz. One of her signature business tools involves the sense of smell.

“A part of my company is I’m big on scent. Scent is a trigger for your memory and moods,” Manning said. “So for instance, you have a horrible day at work and you have this scent hits your face, it takes your attitude over the top. If you cross your threshold and you’re met with a pleasant smell, you relax, you’re at home. Everything looks in order, everything is clean. It’s good for your mental health.”

But when she moved back to LA, it was difficult for her to get the traction she needed to get the company rolling.

The goal of EECI is to nurture and promote entrepreneurship and small business creation/expansion in the underserved communities of Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, Carson and South Central Los Angeles by providing assistance, education, training and mentorship for multi-cultural entrepreneurs to start or expand small businesses where they live.

The start-ups which were honored include three for-profits and three non-profits. They will be based in communities ranging from South Los Angeles to Inglewood, Watts, Compton, and Rancho Dominguez.

The non-profit organizations are Design Wellness Resource Center, owned by Mishalay Sanders; Community Cultural Love owned by Valerie V. Lee; and The Sampson Center, owned by Monique McGriff.

The for-profit businesses are Many Hatz Cleaning Services; Drone Quest Photography owned by David Hawthorne; and Black Corn Man, owned by Andrew Johnson. 

The EECI program asks entrepreneurs several questions to help them design business proposals; business plans; financial plans; and other things necessary for their businesses  by having them detail their answers and tailor them specifically to their professions.

“There are so many things to tackle,” Manning said, noting the mentors also helped revamp their business logo, changing the font and adding a tagline. “Everything came together.”

For more information, visit manyhatz7llc@gmail and for information on EECI Miracle’s Entrepreneur Program Business Plan Development course call (323) 757-7506. Visit EECI at www.entrepreneureducationalcenter.org.

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