The Lauderhill Program helps ex-con find new opportunities through entrepreneurship

LAUDERHILL, Florida. – When a person is given the opportunity to open their own business, they may feel like a dream aligns with an opportunity.

But for part of the population, they never have the opportunity because of a mistake in their past.

A new program attempts to change that narrative.

Miko Atkinson is set to open her own shadow kitchen, an entrepreneurial concept that would be a first for Lauderhill.

“We’ve cornered in a place, we just got city approval,” he said. “It’s not really eating in but anyone can pick up their orders, send their Uber Eats, there will be locker systems for people to come and pick up their food and put in their code, and it’s all self-contained. “

Getting to this point was not easy for Atkinson due to a stint in prison.

Its record from more than a decade ago meant most opportunities met behind closed doors, until a brand new pilot program blazed a new trail.

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“By earning our LIEP degree, we actually have the chance to cross some of those boundaries,” Atkinson said.

LIEP stands for Lauderhill Inclusive Entrepreneurship Program and is aimed specifically at city dwellers who are trying to distance themselves from their criminal past.

“They’re creating a pipeline to prosperity for themselves, but second, they’re all brand new businesses,” said Lauderhill Vice Mayor Melissa P. Dunn. “They’re going to hire people, they’re going to pay taxes, and I think that’s phenomenal.”

From tech and transportation companies to a nonprofit that helps abused children, LEAP turns brilliant ideas into real businesses.

Giovanni Sairras, who has been in these shoes himself, is a successful coach.

“Our motto is simply to give back to the communities that we once took from,” he said.

Sairras now runs his own reintegration mentorship program.

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“If I can’t find the person I’m looking for, then maybe I need to be that person, maybe it’s time for me to lead by example, and that’s exactly what I did. “, did he declare.

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Ryan H. Bowman