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SOUTH-CENTRAL : New Entrepreneurs Earning Seed Money

June 20, 1993|ELSTON CARR

For as long as Devon Scott can remember, he's always wanted to start his own business.

And since 1991, with the help of the Young Entrepreneurs Program at USC, Scott and 40 other young adults have learned marketing, advertising and financing skills to help start their own businesses.

In the first phase of the one-year program, participants attend daily classes on business plan development and implementation. Students who complete this phase can then apply for grants of up to $500 from the program's venture capital board for business start-up.

Program participants are also matched with volunteer USC students as mentors. Organized activities with mentors include trips to the Pacific Stock Exchange, to flea markets and to City Hall to register businesses.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday June 27, 1993 Home Edition City Times Page 10 Zones Desk 2 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
Entrepreneur program--A June 20 article incorrectly reported how USC's Young Entrepreneur Program is funded. The program is funded entirely by the Milken Institute for Job & Capital Formation, and in the past two years the program has awarded $8,000 in grants to high school students to start their own businesses.

Scott obtained a $500 grant and started Signature Expressions, a home-based desktop publishing company serving churches, schools and social services agencies.

"The program is great," said Scott, a 20-year-old sophomore at Cal State Dominguez Hills. "I always loved to manage. I've always wanted to be in charge of things, and I knew I wanted to be in the business world. I've picked up a lot of academic skills, and my mentor has encouraged me along the way."

After paying expenses, Scott said he earns about $200 monthly from the business. That may not seem like much in comparison to other small businesses, but Scott said the income helps him pay for school costs.

Arlitha Williams, another program alumna, founded Ambrosia the Food of Immortals Catering with her $500 start-up grant. Williams, who will attend USC this fall, said she earns more than $2,000 annually from her business, which serves low-fat and low-salt soul food.

"The program was a lot more intense than I expected," Williams said. "But the intensity make me strive to be better in business."

The two-year-old Young Entrepreneurs Program, which started at the University of Pennsylvania and has branches at Columbia University and UC Berkeley, is funded by an $8,000 annual grant from the Milken Institute for Job & Capital Formation.

The program is now accepting applications.

Information: (213) 743-1726.

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