What is DC Community Carrot?
D.C. Community Carrot is a nonprofit organization formed to serve the underrepresented, under privilege and at risk youth (18-24 year old) in the Washington, D.C. community.
What is the mission?
Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty by helping entrepreneurial Opportunity Youth create businesses of their own that will last a lifetime. We provide the mentors, expertise, support, and access to capital needed for entrepreneurs to succeed.
How did it form?
D.C. Community Carrot was conceived in the spring of 2016, when 11 shots rang out at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a residential street in the Petworth community; known to have drug and crime problems. The neighbors were alarmed and upset. They asked then Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner David Sheon to help stop the shootings. David Sheon then partnered with the now D.C. Community Carrot board chairman, Pastor Gerald Elston to arrange a community meeting. The attendees demanded better protection from the police, and talked about D.C.’s security camera program, which reimburses residents for external cameras.
There were already police cameras at that corner, however. Neighbors started to interrupt police and other speakers to say they don’t want to live in a community with more police and more cameras. They want our neighborhood to look just like other neighborhoods. They pointed out that sending more young men and women to jail should not be our goal. A resident pointed out that our young men and woman selling drugs are really frustrated entrepreneurs who don’t want to work for anyone else. That is when David Sheon recognized a solution to the problem.
David utilized his years of advising entrepreneurs, creating start-ups, social connections and other work experience to help the frustrated street corner entrepreneurs be their own boss, without risking their freedom.
What is the format and structure?
After a selection process, the participants are selected into the six month program. During which time, participants will build hard skills, transferrable skills with emphasis on soft skills, start and scale a startup business.
The program is structured with a very few payroll employees that insures success of carrot’s mission in house and many partners to help that success along the way. For example, community connections will provide the needed social services to needed participants.
What are the demographics of the populations it serves?
DC Community Carrot serves 18 through 24 year old Opportunity Youth of Washington, D.C. This includes a relatively broad spectrum such as: minorities, need of social services, being in an environment with a high risk of harm or high risk of incarceration. Alfonso Gregory is an example of such a participant from our first cohort. Check out his NBC 4 interview by clicking here.