The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) was introduced to Managing Partner, Brian Wendroff, by a representative of the fellowship program. Brian was intrigued by the opportunities YLAI provides to entrepreneurs from Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada to contribute their skills to U.S.-based businesses. In particular, Brian was interested in Alfonso Aguilera, a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Argentina who created an app that automates accounting processes for self-employed individuals in Latin America.
“My mother is from Peru, so I felt like there was a strong Latin American connection in having Alfonso join our team combined with our shared passion for accounting automation,” states Brian.
Alfonso was one of nine Argentines and 280 entrepreneurs from all over the Americas to participate in YLAI 2022. The YLAI fellowship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), and implemented by The International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), a nonprofit organization that specializes in global education and development.
Those selected for the program are emerging business/social entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 and 35 who have a demonstrated track record with small or medium-sized businesses or social ventures. In addition to investing in a new generation of young leaders in the Americas who are shaping the region’s future, YLAI aims to strengthen economic and social development across the Americas by fostering business relationships and connections with the U.S.
During his one-month stay, Alfonso worked with Wendroff & Associates to automate internal project management tools and accounting processes for the team. While he has since returned to Argentina, Alfonso is still working remotely on the project with the firm.
Without host organizations, like Wendroff & Associates, and programs like YLAI, entrepreneurial leaders from the Americas would have far fewer opportunities to share their knowledge, skills, and culture with U.S-based businesses. To learn more about YLAI, visit YLAI.state.gov.