The application process for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship Program is now closed. Stay tuned for any future application information.
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 1,000 YLAI Fellows from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada have expanded their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and organizations across the United States. 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. Program components have included:
Please note that if safe travel is not possible at the time of the YLAI Fellowship, this program will be conducted virtually.
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:
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:
The U.S. Department of State and its implementing partner IREX 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 join the YLAI Network and visit exchanges.state.gov for information on other U.S. Department of State exchange opportunities.
The YLAI Fellows 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 semifinalists will be contacted to schedule an interview in January-February. All applicants will be notified of their status by March 2022.
The YLAI Fellowship Program Selection Committee uses the following criteria to evaluate applications and interviews:
The purpose of the application is to collect information and to better understand an applicant’s qualifications for the YLAI Fellowship Program. Questions are designed to capture the applicant’s professional background, experience with their own business or social enterprise, and English language proficiency. The application will also include the applicant’s work history and business profile.
General Application Instructions and Tips