We had the good fortune of connecting with Carlton Dossou and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Carlton, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Throughout my four years at Loyola Marymount University, I was an Entrepreneurship major. I spent my time inside and outside of class trying to think of a business that I wanted to start. I spent my time thinking of all the ideas that would make me as rich as Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. However, I couldn’t think of anything that I felt I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So I started thinking about what exactly I wanted to do. I realized money wasn’t something that made me go. I wanted to make a change. I wanted to create something to help make the world a better place. That something I created was We Got Next LA. We Got Next LA is a nonprofit after-school program that’ll serve the inner city and other at-risk youth K-12. Giving them resources that they can’t afford and ones that are no longer available to them in school. I grew up in the LA public school system and I know how broken it is. It is an unequal playing field for us compared to our well-off peers. I want to have a hand in helping level that playing field.

What should our readers know about your business?
We Got Next LA is a nonprofit after-school program that I started up in my last semester at LMU. It’ll offer kids tutoring, mentoring, extracurricular classes, special events, and community outreach opportunities! I want to give kids programs that’ll help them stay on top of their books while also offering them other resources that’ll allow them to immerse themselves in their creative passions/outlets like music classes, sports teams, or fashion classes! Also giving them the chance to see what exists outside their neighborhoods by taking them on field trips to places they may never go.

Starting a nonprofit has not been easy. I was always the odd man out in class. Everyone was creating for-profit businesses. The speakers that came in to speak were successful for-profit founders. I ended up having an internal struggle within. I felt like no one understood me or what I wanted to do. I felt like I was going to be in it by myself. Once I got over that I saw I was not in it all by myself. So I took it upon myself to stay confident in my idea and to tell all my professors about my idea and ask them for help. Helping me is definitely an understatement for all they did for me. LMU’s Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship was always there for me in my journey from when it was just an idea to now a running nonprofit organization! Without the likes of Jason D’Mello, David Choi, Darlene Fukuji, and my peers like Christian Jackson there’d be no We Got Next LA today!

One of the biggest things I’d want the world to know about We Got Next LA and myself is that I know I cannot equalize the playing field for the inner city and at-risk youth by myself. I know there are so many others that want the same thing. So I want We Got Next to partner/work with other nonprofits, businesses, and people that want the same thing I do. I believe if we all work together as one rather than separately we will accomplish our shared goal faster! That’s one of the reasons why it’s called We, not I Got Next!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There’s so much to do in LA! Sometimes I’d argue too many things to do! Food wise I know for sure we’d go to eat at some of my favorite spots like Thai BBQ, Little Beijing, the El Chato taco truck, and the Marina Del Rey Yardhouse. I write poetry and I love seeing all the cool emerging amazing talents that LA has to offer poetry and music-wise. So we’d go to an open mic at Dapoetrylounge! I’m still a kid at heart so I still love playing games so we’d go to this cool “barcade” that my friends just showed me called EightyTwo! If there’s still time we’d go to a sports game like a Lakers game! There’s plenty more I’d do so if anyone wants to have a great time in LA I’m the guy to reach out to.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shoutout all my family and friends because without them I would not be who I am and where I am today! There are so many people I want to shoutout but if I could name a few it’d be my Mom, Dad, Sister, Alle, Paomar, Ryan, and Will! They have always been there for me. They’re the people I aspire to make proud of me in everything I do! I hope I have and I hope I will continue to!

Website: https://www.wegotnext.la

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wegotnextla_

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cdos2

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCFjoATyBbkaq5bo5x7DWX8w

Other: Personal Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cdos2_

Image Credits
LMU’s Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship & Myles Dement

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