Tuesday 31 January 2023

U.S. seeks entrepreneurial talent from Costa Rica

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative has already awarded scholarships to 46 Costa Ricans.

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QCOSTARICA – This year, seven entrepreneurs participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), of the United States Department of State program that combines virtual training with professional internships in the United States.

The YLAI invites Costa Rican businessmen to apply to be part of the professional training program.

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The application process for the next Young Leaders of the Americas (YLAI) Fellowship Program is now open and the deadline is February 15, 2023.

Those who are chosen will receive a notification in June of this year. The program begins with virtual training in November and professional internships in companies in the United States will take place in March 2024.

Who is eligible to apply? 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. Click here to apply

YLAI was created in 2015 to promote the entrepreneurship of young people between the ages of 25 and 35, who speak English and have established their businesses for at least two years.

Registration closes on February 15. Those who are chosen will receive a notification in June of this year. The program begins with virtual training in November and professional internships in companies in the United States will take place in March 2024.

The seven selected

Seven Costa Ricans were selected to participate in YLAI this year.  They are:

  • Ana Cristina Trejos (leader of Magma Social Communication)
  • Fanny Vargas (theatrical producer at La Tropa)
  • María José Mena (beekeeper in charge of Pollen Keepers, a company that produces high-quality honey and other products from the hive)
  • Emmanuel Barrantes (leader of Uturn, a company that restores old 4×4 cars)
  • Paola Alvarado (Yikes professional physical educator)
  • Rosa Alvarado (leader of Agropura, a company in the agricultural and organic food industry)
  • Sofía Alpízar (functional furniture designer in Diseñístico, with services that include interior design consultancy and women’s empowerment workshops with heavy power tools).
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This group receives virtual training with a curriculum and leadership development and will travel in May of this year to the United States, to carry out professional internships of four weeks with American companies and address their business challenges while participating in intercultural events and activities, in person and virtually.

The program will conclude with a forum to be held in Washington D.C. in June. The young entrepreneurs will then return to their businesses in Costa Rica with new skills, resources, and the continued support of their US counterparts and a broader network that strengthens business ties between the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada.

This year, a total of 280 young leaders from 37 countries are part of YLAI 2023. Since 2015, more than 1,240 entrepreneurs have created connections with more than 900 host organizations in the United States, including 46 Costa Ricans.

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