Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professionals Fellows Program 2016 (Fully-funded)

Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professionals Fellows Program 2016 (Fully-funded)

Deadline: May 20, 2016

Applications are now open for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professionals Fellows Program. President Obama’s 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. 

Program Details

Fellows will participate in

  • Four-week Fellowship: With U.S. mentors in their field of expertise, YLAI Professional Fellows gain valuable professional development skills at entrepreneurial organizations or companies across the U.S. and work jointly on a venture 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.
  • Sustained Engagement Post Fellowship: 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 conferences, and a chance to Host a U.S. Mentor to share expertise and expand mentors’ understanding of the entrepreneurship climate in YLAI Professional Fellows’ home countries.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria

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, 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, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.
  • Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
  • Have at least two (2) years of entrepreneurial/leadership experience, preferably 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 YLAI Professional Fellows Program candidate selection committee will use the following criteria to evaluate applications and interviews:

  • Demonstrated understanding of how your personal and professional goals align with program objectives.
  • Demonstrated leadership, social consciousness and commitment to community or public service, mentorship or volunteerism.
  • Demonstrated professional entrepreneurial experience and knowledge.
  • Positive attitude and demonstrated initiative and perseverance.
  • Commitment to your home country and to applying entrepreneurial and leadership skills, experience and knowledge to benefit your community and country.

Benefits/ Support

This is a fully-funded fellowship opportunity. There is no fee to apply to become a YLAI Professional Fellow. All YLAI Professional Fellows Program expenses are covered by the U.S. government.

  • J-1 visa support.
  • Round-trip travel from participant’s home city to the United States and all required program travel.
  • YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute training and courses.
  • Program opening in Dallas and summit in Washington, D.C.
  • Four-week professional development experience.
  • Accident and sickness medical coverage.
  • Housing and meals throughout the program.

In addition,

  • Through the YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute and the individualized Entrepreneur Mentorships, 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 Professional Fellows will build networks, linkages and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures

How to Apply

Complete your YLAI Application here.Application questions will include candidates’ professional background and experience with their own business or social ventures, volunteer activities and English language proficiency. The application will request a copy of applicants’ business or organization plans and resumes.

Application will also include the following short answers

  • What are your goals for this program and how will it help to advance you personally and professionally? How will your participation in the YLAI Professional Fellows Program enhance your ability to contribute to your community, country, region and society?
  • What challenges does your company/organization face? How will your participation in this program help you face those challenges?
  • Please share any previous experience with U.S. organizations. What interests you about the opportunity to work with a U.S. institution?
  • Please describe your entrepreneurial accomplishments.
  • Please describe the business plan that you hope to refine and further develop as a part of this program.

Important dates







For more information, visit YLAI Program.