The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative: Regional Workshop on Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean

Participants joined Sir Richard Branson after his remarks on June 6, 2017.
Participants joined Sir Richard Branson after his remarks on June 6, 2017.

In collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Kingston and the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean, Meridian International Center hosted the “Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Regional Workshop on Entrepreneurship” from June 5 – 6. The 2-day conference examined unique challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, and encouraged growth and collaboration outside of the region. Over 100 young entrepreneurs representing 20 countries from the Caribbean — including Belize, Cuba, and Guyana — gathered in Kingston, Jamaica to discuss how entrepreneurship in the Caribbean can and will move the region forward economically.

Highlights included an up-close interview with Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group and the Branson Centre, where he encouraged participants to address global problems while growing their business; a keynote presentation by Chase Jarvis, an American entrepreneur, artist and CEO of CreativeLive, during which he turned the tables and critiqued three entrepreneurs at varying stages of growth; and a reception hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica, Luis Moreno, at his residence.

Participants hailed from diverse groups, equally representing YLAI Alumni from Jamaica, across the Caribbean, and more broadly the YLAI Network from this region. Fellows of the Branson Centre, primarily from Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands, also participated in the event. The workshop coincided with the re-launch of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Kingston, which offered many opportunities for cross-pollination.

Participants left the workshop feeling energized, inspired, and more connected to the work that their peers across the region are undertaking. To close the participants were challenged to identify their next steps in their ventures and share the knowledge gained from this opportunity with their communities at home.

About the Program

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program brings entrepreneurs and civil society leaders to the United States for a five-week program. This U.S. Department of State-sponsored program empowers these young entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. For more information about YLAI, please contact Evan Kindle.

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