The U.S. Embassy has announced the application process for the next Young Leaders of the Americas (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program. 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.
Through the YLAI Entrepreneurial Leadership Curriculum and individualized professional placements, YLAI Fellows have accelerated their commercial and social ventures’ success and developed specific action plans to implement upon return to their home countries. YLAI Fellows built networks, linkages, and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures.
- Four-week Professional Placement: In cities across the United States, YLAI Fellows gain valuable professional development skills and experience at U.S. entrepreneurial organizations from the Fellow’s business sector. Fellows will collaborate with their placement host on their Entrepreneurial Leadership Action Plan (E-LAP) which the Fellows will implement upon return to their home countries.
- YLAI Entrepreneurial Leadership Curriculum: The YLAI Fellowship Program includes online and in-person coursework, developed by IREX and Arizona State University (ASU), which combines technical entrepreneurship training and leadership development. Using the E-LAP, Fellows will set and achieve their entrepreneurial leadership goals.
- U.S. Orientation and YLAI Closing Forum in the United States: YLAI Fellows participate in the U.S. Orientation in Tempe, Arizona and YLAI Closing Forum in Washington, D.C., as well as networking events with business and social entrepreneurial leaders, and U.S. government representatives.
- Post-Fellowship Sustained Engagement: After successful completion of the Fellowship, YLAI Fellows continue their collaboration with U.S. partners and have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentorships, networking, and alumni activities. YLAI Fellows will have the chance to welcome a U.S. host to their country through the Outbound Exchange Program, sharing their expertise on the entrepreneurship climate in their country.
There is no fee to apply to become a YLAI Fellow. If selected for the YLAI Fellowship Program, the U.S. Government will cover all program costs. Financial provisions provided by the U.S. Government will include:
- J-1 visa support. No visa support will be offered to dependents, as this is an unaccompanied program.
- 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;
- Opening Orientation in Tempe, Arizona and Closing Forum in Washington, D.C.;
- Four-week professional placement with host organization;
- A limited accident and sickness benefit plan; and
- 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 Fellowship Program. The YLAI Fellowship 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
- Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
- 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.
- Are not a U.S. government employee.
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
For more information, visit https://ylai.state.gov/fellowship/