Eight young Jamaican entrepreneurs participate in YLAI 2018

Sunday, September 23, 2018

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The US Embassy in Kingston describes them as bold, creative, and true representatives of Jamaica's future. In other words, bright. They are the eight young entrepreneurs who have been selected to participate in the 2018 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellow programme.

They are Andre Robb of Braata Box and Co; Gavin Lindsay of Merit Holdings Ltd; Jamellia Blythe of High Flyer Educational Services; Kenishia Mais of Thriving Dollars Co; Kerri-Anne Walker of Kei Dubb; Nicolene Witter of Enablers of Community Advancement Projects and Initiatives (ECAPI) Limited; Rory-Craig Walker of Jamaican Care Packages; and Shawneil Bailey of Zarabelle.

Under the programme the fellows, who will be among 250 business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean, will spend four weeks collaborating with counterparts in businesses and organisations in 20 cities across the United States, starting in Detroit, Michigan, and terminating in Washington, DC. They will focus on topics including, but not limited, agriculture, clean energy, e-commerce, education and women and youth empowerment.

“Through this exchange, fellows will advance their entrepreneurial ventures and build leadership skills to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities,” the embassy said. “Fellows return to their ventures with new skills, resources, ongoing support from US counterparts, and an improved network — strengthening business ties between the US and Latin America and the Caribbean.”

The fellows left the island last week and are expected to return in October following a closing forum in Washington, DC, focused on leadership and skills development training.

United States Embassy Counselor for Public Affairs Jeremiah Knight congratulated the YLAI Fellows at a recent pre-departure session at the embassy, and hailed the outstanding performance by this year's cohort.

The 2018 YLAI Professional Fellows were selected through a competitive application process, which attracted 2,500 applications throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Those selected represent 36 countries throughout the region.

YLAI was launched by former US President Barack Obama while on a state visit to Jamaica in 2015.

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