GEORGETOWN – President Obama’s 2016 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellows Program will bring together 250 young leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean, including four from Guyana, to the United States for an exchange program that will involve internships and skills-building workshops. President Obama launched YLAI to build linkages between young leaders across the hemisphere and to expand opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and civil society leaders. The program will begin on October 5 in Dallas and culminate with a summit in Washington, D.C., in early November.
Over the five-week program, the fellows will learn and share their experiences in start-ups, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities in cities throughout the United States and in partnership with community groups and American universities. The participants will further develop their business or social venture plans through an entrepreneurship curriculum and workshops, and by working alongside their American counterparts.
The 2016 YLAI Professional Fellows selection team received nearly 4,000 applications for this Presidential program. The 250 selected business and social entrepreneurs represent 35 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and have demonstrated the energy of this generation to build stronger, more prosperous, and more secure communities throughout the hemisphere. Their areas of interest include agriculture, clean energy, consulting, e-commerce, education, entrepreneurship development and support, food and beverage, food security, health care, hospitality, LGBTI rights, marketing and branding, mobile applications, and women and youth empowerment.
Among the Guyanese participants is Dason Anthony, one of the owners of 592Dresses, founded in July of last year. 592Dresses assists boutiques and local designers to sell, market, and advertise their products through its online marketplace. Judason Bess, the co-owner and manager of The Farmacy, focuses on making agriculture and food production more sustainable. Abbigale Loncke has spent most of her adult life helping those in need. She created Community Health Care, an agency that delivers home care needs for the elderly, sick, disabled, and children in the comfort of their homes, while training women who are in need of employment and second chances to take up roles as care-givers. Shaunda Yarde founded Coconut Grove with her grandmother’s recipe in 2013. She uses fresh local ingredients to make a culturally rooted product, Golden Crunch Coconut Biscuits. The biscuits were part of Moray House’s 2015 Christmas Parcel and Guyana’s 2016 Golden Jubilee welcome package.
YLAI, one of four programs within the Young Leaders Initiatives, is a part of President Obama’s commitment to empower young people around the world and ensure they have the tools, skills, and networks to tackle our shared global challenges.