The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) empowers entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. Since the initiative’s launch in 2015, more than 750 YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean have expanded their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and organizations across the United States.
Moreover, through the YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute and the individualized Fellowships, YLAI Fellows have accelerated their commercial and social ventures’ success and developed specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. Further, YLAI Fellows built networks, linkages, and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures.
- Round-trip travel from participant’s home city to the United States and domestic U.S. travel, as required by the program.
- YLAI Entrepreneurial Leadership Curriculum coursework and mentoring.
- U.S. Orientation in Tempe, Arizona and YLAI Closing Forum in Washington, D.C.
- Likewise, Four-week professional placement with the host organization.
- A limited accident and sickness benefit plan.
- Housing and meal stipend during the program.
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 25 and 35 at the Fellowship start date.
- Are a resident and citizen of one of the participating countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, 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
- Also, candidates are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
- Further, have a demonstrated track record of successfully growing their own business or social venture for at least two (2) years.
- Are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
- Further, are not a U.S. government employee.
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
The YLAI Professional Fellows Program candidate selection committee will use the following criteria to evaluate applications and interviews:
- Demonstrated professional entrepreneurial experience and knowledge
- Further, commitment to a community or public service, mentorship, or volunteerism in your home country and to applying entrepreneurial and leadership skills, experience and knowledge to benefit your community and country
- Demonstrated understanding of how your personal and professional goals align with program objectives
- Further, Demonstrated leadership, commitment to your organization’s or business’s success, positive attitude, initiative, and perseverance