Thrive. Connect. Contribute

Social Entrepreneur

Hosted ByTony Loyd

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

265: Developing Young Entrepreneurs, with Dario Otero, Youth Lens 360

Youth Lens 360 is a for-profit marketing company that works with youth.

Youth Lens 360 provides visual communication, product marketing, and branding services through the lens of youth ages 14-24.

Dario Otero, the founder of Youth Lens 360, has seen first-hand how the education systems do not support, nurture or value entrepreneurial thinking. “I’ve found in my teaching and leadership experience that underrecognized youth of color have a naturally creative and resourceful entrepreneurial spirit. That gets ignored in traditional education settings,” he explains. “As a result, youth will eventually lose that capacity and enthusiasm for education. They don’t stay engaged when we don’t connect what they are learning to the real world of self-sufficiency or survival.”

To address the problem of lack of entrepreneurial opportunities, Dario has developed a model called L.E.A.D., or Learn, Experience, Apply, and Debrief. “LEAD allows youth access and opportunities that ignite their desire to start a business, create a product, or become self-sustaining while they work with entrepreneurs,” Dario explains. “It is about finding themselves as contributors, leaders, and money makers.” LEAD is not about a single path, Dario says. “It is about changing the way we see youth. It shatters the stereotype threat that we have about our youth and changes our focus from what they will do to what they can do. When we see them in a new light, they become the light we need to see. “

The vehicle he uses to empower youth is Youth Lens 360, a for-profit marketing company that provides visual communication, marketing, and branding services. “There is an assumption that because my company has a social impact, we are a nonprofit. However, we are for-profit. It is essential that the youth who work for me and with me make money for their talents. It is a model that I hope a lot of for-profit companies learn and apply. Profit and social impact should not be mutually exclusive. It is imperative today that our communities see how the products and services big business provides also contribute to our health and welfare on a daily basis. We are all in this together, and we can still make a ton of money. Nobody loses.

Dario’s passion is to empower youth. He encourages them to set their goals high and to implement a plan to achieve those goals. Dario believes that all youth should acquire the necessary skills to become entrepreneurs. He also thinks that the youth need to be community leaders and mobilize other young people to be successful.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Dario Otero:

“There’s this core group of youth from 19 to 24. There’s a gap there that we try to focus on.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“I’m trying to tap into that untapped potential that so many overlook.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“We started think-tanking with companies.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“To allow young people to step into their brilliance, you need to facilitate that energy.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“The kids just flourished.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“The system of school didn’t understand what we were doing.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“If you’re doing business in 2018, you need a visual.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“I didn’t know I was a social entrepreneur. I didn’t know they had a name for it.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

“That even exchange back and forth is where the magic happens.” Dario Otero @YouthLens360

Social Entrepreneurship Resources:


Chief Learning Officer
About the Author
Tony Loyd is a leadership development expert. He is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and coach. He helps purpose-driven business leaders to thrive so that they can connect with others and contribute to the world. Find out more at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.