The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. In fall 2017, 250 YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean will expand their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and civil society organizations across the U.S.
Through the YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute and the individualized Fellowships, YLAI Fellows will accelerate their commercial and social ventures’ success and develop specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. YLAI Fellows will build networks, linkages and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures. YLAI 2017 Fellows will participate in the following program components:
- Four-week U.S. Fellowship: With U.S. fellowship hosts in their fields of expertise, YLAI Professional Fellows gain valuable professional development skills at entrepreneurial organizations or companies across the U.S. and work jointly on an action plan to be implemented upon Fellows’ return to their home countries.
- Washington, D.C. Summit: YLAI Professional Fellows participate in a three-day conference and networking event with top U.S. government officials as well as global public, private and nonprofit leaders.
- YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute: YLAI Professional Fellows expand their leadership, entrepreneurial and management skills and knowledge through online and in-person trainings that complement their U.S. Fellowship.
- Post-Fellowship Sustained Engagement: After successful completion of the U.S. Fellowship and YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute, YLAI Professional Fellows continue their collaboration with U.S. partners and have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentorships, networking and alumni activities. YLAI Professional Fellows will be 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 to share expertise and expand the host’s understanding of the entrepreneurship climate in YLAI Professional Fellows’ home countries.
Candidates will be considered without respect to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexuality, national origin, disability or any other protected characteristic as established by U.S. law. Applicants with disabilities are eligible and encouraged to apply for the YLAI Professional Fellows Program. The YLAI Professional Fellows Program is open to young entrepreneurs who meet the following criteria:
- Are between the ages of 21 and 35 on the start date of the YLAI Professional Fellows Program.
- Are a resident and citizen of one of the participating countries*: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.
* In the specific cases of residency in Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, citizenship in the Netherlands is accepted.
- Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
- Have at least two (2) years of professional experience.
- Have experience with a startup business or social venture.
- Are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
- Are not U.S. government employees.
- Are proficient in reading, writing and speaking English.
The U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center reserve the right to verify all of the information included in the application. In the event that there is a discrepancy or information is found to be false, the application will immediately be declared invalid and the applicant ineligible.
Applications not meeting the above technical eligibility requirements will not be forwarded to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, we invite you to visit exchanges.state.gov for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.
Eligible Regions: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Application Deadline: April 23, 2017 (8 Days Remaining)
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