The eight Jamaicans selected for US President Barack Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) left the island on Tuesday for the United States.
The programme, which Obama launched on his visit to Jamaica in April 2015, is designed to build linkages between young leaders across the hemisphere.
According to the US Government, the initiative “will help address the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering entrepreneurs and civil society leaders with the training, tools, networks and resources they need to transform their societies and contribute more fully to economic development and prosperity, security, human rights and good governance in the hemisphere”.
Twenty-four Latin American and Caribbean entrepreneurs participated in a successful pilot YLAI fellowship programme in spring 2016, creating the beginning of a vibrant network of entrepreneurs in the Western Hemisphere.
Following the success of this YLAI pilot, an additional 250 YLAI fellowships were awarded to rising young business and social entrepreneurs in fall 2016.
The US Government expects that the YLAI will generate US$1 billion for emerging business and social entrepreneurs by the end of 2017 by helping fellows attract new investments and in-kind resources for their businesses or organisations each year.