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The Professional Scholarship Program of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) brings together 260 social and business entrepreneurs from Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada in a virtual scholarship.

From January to April 2021, Fellows will complete YLAI’s personalized business curriculum, work with a host U.S. organization, and collaborate with US mentors to address common business challenges.

The fellows represent 37 countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. They work in various sectors, such as agriculture, clean energy, e-commerce, education, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, marketing and branding.

ShareAmerica details this initiative and how you can join it.

What is the “YLAI Network”?

The YLAI Network is a community of 49,000 young entrepreneurs, change makers and aspiring leaders. Anyone interested in acquiring the tools and connections to drive positive change at work, in the community, and even in a country can join the YLAI Network.

Many members are thinking of starting their own businesses or organizations, and many have already done so and are ready to grow. They get in touch with experts from the region and share ideas to develop their businesses and help their communities. Members can access digital content, interactive talks, events, and advice on leadership, entrepreneurship, and other topics.

What are the specific goals of YLAI?

YLAI’s goal is develop the knowledge, skills, and networking skills of young leaders in the Western Hemisphere. The initiative also seeks to expand ties between the most promising business and social entrepreneurs in Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada with their colleagues in the United States.

As part of these activities, YLAI works with its partners to build a supportive environment in order to facilitate business initiativeespecially for innovation-oriented high-growth startups created by young people.

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Finally, YLAI supports civil society, especially social entrepreneurs from across the Americas region, to strengthen the response of society to the expectations of citizens for further development, better governance and a stronger rule of law.

What does YLAI hope to achieve?

Each year, up to 280 scholarship recipients have the opportunity to create or accelerate the growth of their businesses or civil society organizations, including social enterprises. This program is open to young entrepreneurs who have between 25 and 35 years old, who are selected to participate through a competitive application process.

The initiative helps scholarship recipients attract additional support, investments and in-kind resources for your businesses or organizationss. For startups, social enterprises, and civil society organizations, the infusion of funds, resources, and support will play a crucial role in their growth.

What does the scholarship include?

Please note that if safe travel is not possible when the YLAI Professional Scholarship Program takes place, it will take place virtually.

Four weeks of professional internships: In US cities, YLAI Fellows gain valuable professional development skills and experience in American business organizations from the Fellow’s business sector. Fellows will collaborate with their internship host on their Business Leadership Action Plan (E-LAP), which they will implement upon returning to their home countries.

YLAI Business Leadership Curriculum: The YLAI Professional Scholarship Program includes online and face-to-face courses, developed by IREX and Arizona State University (ASU), that combine technical business training and leadership development. Using the E-LAP plan, fellows will establish and achieve their business leadership goals.

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Orientation in the United States and YLAI closing forum in the United States: YLAI Fellows participate in an orientation in the United States, in Tempe, Arizona, and the YLAI closing forum in Washington, as well as networking events with companies and social business leaders, as well as government representatives from U.S.

Sustained participation after the scholarship: Upon successful fellowship completion, YLAI Scholars continue their collaboration with US partners and have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking, and alumni activities. YLAI Fellows will have the opportunity to host an American host in their country through the Foreign Exchange Program, to share their experience of the business environment in their country.

In the event that there is a discrepancy or the information you submitted is found to be false, the request will be declared invalid immediately. (Pixabay)

Who is eligible to apply?

Candidates will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexuality, national origin, disability, or any other protected characteristic as established by US law. Applicants with disabilities are eligible and encouraged to apply for the YLAI Scholarship Program. The YLAI Scholarship Program is open to young entrepreneurs who meet the following criteria:

–Are between 25 and 35 years old on the date of the Fellowship.

–They are residents and citizens of one of the participating countries (Ecuador is included).

–They are eligible to receive a US J-1 Visa.

–Have a proven track record of successful growth of their own business or social enterprise for at least two (2) years.

–They are not US citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

– They are not employees of the United States government.

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–Master reading, writing and speaking in English.

Applications that do not meet the technical eligibility requirements above will not be sent to the selection committee. If you do not meet the technical eligibility requirements for this program, you must join the YLAI Network and visit for information on other US exchange opportunities from the Department of State.

What are the criteria to be selected?

The YLAI Scholars Program is an open, merit-based competition. There is no cost to apply. After the application deadline, an independent selection committee of regional and technical experts reviews all eligible applications.

Those applicants selected to be semi-finalists they will be contacted to schedule an interview in April. All applicants will be notified of their status before May 2021.

The YLAI Scholarship Program Selection Committee will use the following criteria to evaluate applications and interviews:

–Proven professional business knowledge and experience.

–Commitment to the community or public service, mentoring or volunteering in their home country and applying business and leadership skills, experience and knowledge to benefit their community and country.

–Demonstrated understanding of how your personal and professional goals align with the goals of the program.

– Demonstrated leadership, commitment to the success of your organization or business, positive attitude, initiative and perseverance.

To apply you will have to create a user in the YLAI pageIf you would like to learn more about the scholarship eligibility requirements or review information before enrolling, click click here. (I)

Do not forget to visit questions and answers about the YLAI Network. (I)

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