The United States Embassy in Georgetown recently announced that three young professionals are set to represent Guyana at this year’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Programme.
The trio will participate in a five-week programme sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and designed to bring to the United States 250 young leaders from 36 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, to augment their business
or social venture plans while learning from U.S. counterparts and simultaneously being able to share global perspectives as well as best practices.
Out of well over 3,000 applications submitted from across the region, Suzanne Hamilton, Charles Hutson and Christine Profitt – three young Guyanese leaders — managed to make the cut for the 2017 programme. Hamilton earned her place at YLAI 2017 as a result of the many successes of her organization; she is the founder of Sosh Solutions in Linden. Her establishment offers globally recognised professional qualification courses for local entrepreneurs, and addresses the unavailability of professional and youth development opportunities in the fields of accounting, business, and finance.
Hutson merited his spot for launching Ecab, a mobile app for calling taxis here in
Guyana. The app allows for cab-seekers to electronically hail the closest available cab, while allowing drivers to earn more by saving on gasoline and time. The third Guyana participant wowed the selection panel with the works of The Scrubs Hub. Profitt ventured into an organisation that provides quality medical garments and personal protective gear for medical professionals across Guyana at an affordable
cost. As part of her social responsibility commitment, the local young leader has committed a percentage of the organisation’s income towards the “I CAN” project for disadvantaged youth, single parents, and other young adults in Agricola.
These three Guyanese are set to journey to the U.S. at the beginning of October, as the programme commences on the 4th.
This year’s YLAI Professional Fellows Programme kicks off in Atlanta, Georgia, where the young leaders from across the world will benefit from four weeks of fellowship in cities throughout the United States. During the programme, the change-makers will cash in on mentorship.
The programme will then wrap up with a closing summit focused on leadership and skills development training in Washington, D.C.
In the end, the fellows are tasked with returning to their home ventures with new skills, resources, ongoing support from U.S. counterparts, and an improved network which will ultimately expand the reach of their individual initiatives and strengthen business ties between the United States and Guyana. Just last year, participant Abigale Loncke was among the Guyanese cohort for YLAI 2016, and thereby worked her way to the forefront among 250 young entrepreneurs who were competing for the best business pitch in Washington, DC. The young professional was awarded with the honour of a lifetime when she was selected to travel to Peru to meet US President Barack Obama as he addressed the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
Loncke is the founder of Community Health Care, an agency which offers home care service for elderly persons, the sick, disabled, and children. The agency also gives back to the society by providing training for women who are in need of employment and a second chance at life. Locke’s organisation seeks to integrate these women into society, teach them life skills, and offer them jobs within the company.
Stemming from her achievements during this experience, the social entrepreneur returned home with a passion to take her initiative to the next level, and has since expanded her work, taking her venture to various locations throughout the Caribbean.
This Professional Fellows Programme is therefore testimony to the United States’ commitment to increase trade and investment in the region, and in the words of Vice President Mike Pence, “bring even more of our business culture of entrepreneurship and innovation all across [the Caribbean], so that your prosperity and our prosperity will continue to expand together.”