MINNEAPOLIS - Students in grade school have core classes: Math, English and Science.
But many schools don't teach entrepreneurship.
But one man is trying to fill that gap. Dario Otero created an agency that helps teens in the Twin Cities start their own business.
They've already had some high-profile candidates.
The program is called Lens 360. The agency he founded also helps youth, ages 14-24, contribute to real-world projects
A recent project the teens worked on was for the state of Minnesota, Connect 700.
Connect 700 allows eligible individuals with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform a specific position for up to 700 hours on the job. Teens from the agency created a training video.
“They have they dreams and visions. They get to practice on projects we have for the state, city and whoever else. They take that format and apply it to what they really want to do,” Otero said. “We did everything from creating the music to voice over, to the animation for that project.”
Otero, who has a background in education and visual communication, has opened the eyes of Lewis McCaleb and DeAnthoney Acon to endless possibilities.
“I have to step back and realize how amazing the stuff that is going on is. I never as a child never realized myself in this position, doing my best to help other people reach their goals,” Acon said.
McCaleb, who owns a business with Acon, shares the same vision.
“I want to be many things. A successful recording artist. An Entrepreneur, a man of many businesses and an investor,” he said. “I really spread my wings since I was introduced to Dario and since he took me under his wings and mentored me and let me know I have a light inside of me and I could use this for the better.”
Otero said the agency is a for-profit but the participants aren’t working for him. He does show them the highs and lows of entrepreneurship through technology and video marketing assignments.
They've also created a video for the city of Minneapolis on youth violence prevention work plus countless ventures with high school in the Twin Cities metro.
Otero said he hopes to partner with businesses like Best Buy and Target in the future.