In the wake of 2021 the US State Department has re-established its entrepreneurship-focused program: The Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative. In this article you will understand more about the benefits of the program and the outcome one can derive if successfully accepted.
Since its launch in 2016, approximately 300 alumni from across Europe have bolstered their business skills and transatlantic partnerships through the YTILI Fellowship Program. YTILI uses entrepreneurship as a tool for economic empowerment to promote mutual understanding, enhance business and leadership skills, and build lasting partnerships between business leaders from Europe and the United States. Beginning in October 2021, YTILI will empower a new cohort of young European business and social entrepreneurs to grow their ventures, foster global partnerships, and positively impact the economic development of their communities.
Here are my personal takeaways and a quick Q&A that might help you get a better understanding of this opportunity.
Why did you apply for the YTILI fellowship?
Having a first-hand entrepreneurial and business experience in the US was something I was always looking for. The YTILI programe by the US State Department proved to be a right path in that journey. I applied because of the opportunities designed to enable entrepreneurs and business owners to actually dive deep into the commercial landscape of the US. The know-how, the contacts, the ideas benchmark. Unparalleled opportunity at the time. After all the roles I had and all the projects I started within the last 10 years, I thought that it is nothing less but the right timing for embarking this opportunity.
What’s been your biggest takeaway from your YTILI experience?
The people! Then the know-how. I don’t really want to write any clichés here but being parachuted within the dynamic and bustling, top-notch US business culture and rhythm is outstanding. And it still moves my businesses, ideas and thinking nowadays. With some of the friends I made there we did mutual projects and business initiatives. But that comes after the most important – the friendships. If you can’t drink a beer or hang around with like-minded or thought provocative people you will struggle doing business together even if you land your best ideas at the same airport. So YTILI is unique platform for enabling such people
How did you utilize all your learnings and network upon your return home?
Mainly through three things – the know-how, access to markets and the contacts. Once in the US and if there with (not a delusional start-up idea that burns money with the speed of light) the right idea, product or service, that already has gained traction in a specific (preferably favored by the global market/commercial trends) industry, generates some cash, have a client portfolio, have the opportunity to scale and Expand, and you are willing to grow as an entrepreneur – you can utilize all your learnings and network created in a very smart way.
While in the US I traveled to Washington D.C, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh and Miami and met with organizations, entrepreneurs and investors based in those cities. The agenda was full of resourceful meetings/events with interesting organizations and people from various backgrounds and industries. Extremely valuable to sink your teeth into the business landscape of the US in such a unique and efficient way thanks to the YTILI initiative.
Three years later my YTILI experience and the friends I made in the US still help me run and develop my own business and entrepreneurial endeavors today. As specifically mentioned through the know-how, access to markets and the contacts. Definitely looking forward to be back in the US soon.
Why do you recommend YTILI for the next generation of fellows?
You have the opportunity to make long-lasting friendships with like-minded people. To see and experience the engine behind the vehicle. First-hand. To make valuable contacts and test your limits. Thought that have never crossed your mind will strike you on daily basis. You will have the opportunity to learn from, work with and discuss with the best. All that compounds over the years and will catapult you further ahead from where you are standing now.
How does the application works for the next cohort?
You can visit and browse the official website of the program here. Throughout the application process, applicants will be evaluated based on their leadership abilities, business goals and experience, community impact and engagement qualities, clarity of program goals and objectives, program and cultural preparedness, innovative mindset, entrepreneurial background, and potential for community impact after the program. All other details can be found here.