Notre Dame and local businesses to host Latin American and Caribbean young leaders for entrepreneurship fellowships

Author: Joya Helmuth

The Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) is pleased to announce that it will host participants from the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program in October and November of 2016. As part of the fellowship, 14 young business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean will travel to South Bend and become part of the larger YLAI Network which will provide online resources and a space for young leaders to make regional connections. This is an important step in fulfilling the Obama Administration’s commitment to cultivating entrepreneurship and expanding opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders in the Americas.

The five-week YLAI Professional Fellows Program will place business and social entrepreneurs in relevant businesses and start-ups, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities in the South Bend area. The participants will arrive on October 8 and will further develop their business or social venture plans by engaging in skills-building workshops. They will also have the opportunity to learn from U.S. counterparts by job-shadowing and participating in day-to-day operations at their U.S. host organizations. YLAI Professional Fellows will develop stronger ties with other participants from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as with their U.S. mentors. The final week of the program will take place in Washington, D.C.

To complement the U.S.-based program, 45 mentors from 21 cities around the U.S. will travel to the region in spring 2017 to learn about the fellows’ businesses, share best practices, and support the progress of the fellows’ action plans. Additionally, U.S. mentors will participate in speaking events and small-scale trainings.

NDIGD is seeking area businesses, for-profit and nonprofit organizations to partner with Notre Dame in serving as hosts and mentors for the duration of the four-week fellowship.

The University of Notre Dame is proud to work with grantee Meridian International Center, a premier nonprofit, global leadership organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Meridian is also proud to partner with Atlas Corps and Entrepreneurs’ Organization for this program.  The website includes information about the YLAI Professional Fellows Program.

For further information, please contact Joya Helmuth, NDIGD Outreach and Training Associate Director, at or 574-631-9753.  For press inquiries, contact