Civil society leaders and entrepreneurs of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) program from Latin America and the Caribbean convene in the United States to begin their individual fellowships in cities across the country. The fellows gain hands-on experience launching their own entrepreneurial ideas by working in conjunction with American businesses and civil society organizations to create action plans tailored to their home communities. Additionally, the fellows have the opportunity to network with global public, private, and nonprofit leaders in a three-day summit in Washington, D.C.
The YLAI Fellows build lasting connections to accelerate their entrepreneurial ideas that they are passionate about. Zuheydee Hurley, a 2017 Fellow, recognized that 80% of Panamanians don’t have credit cards. She invented an easy mobile payment app, and received the opportunity to go to PayPal in Austin during the program. And Adrian Valdelomar from Costa Rica cofounded a brewery featuring local ingredient flavors, so he was asked to meet with a microbrewery in Seattle.
Upon successful completion of the fellowship, YLAI Professional Fellows will continue their impact through sustained engagement with their U.S. partners and are eligible for Innovation Small Grants to fund startup or scaling activities, Travel Grants to attend conferences, and a chance to welcome a Fellowship Host to their country.
This program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State.