Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI)

The Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) is the U.S. Department of State's flagship program which aims to promote mutual understanding, enhance entrepreneurship and leadership skills, and build lasting partnerships between business leaders from Europe and the United States.

The Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) is the U.S. Department of State's flagship program for emerging entrepreneurs from Europe. A cohort of young European entrepreneurs from 45 countries will participate in a robust fellowship program in 2021-2022.

The YTILI Fellowship Program engages young European entrepreneurs in a series of professional development and leadership activities that are designed to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and encourage European businesses, governments, and civil society to develop their innovation ecosystems. The program includes an online and in-person entrepreneurship curriculum; a fellowship placement with a business or organization in one of nine U.S. cities; opening and closing conferences in Chicago and Washington, D.C.; and a regional Innovation Summit in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The 2021-2022 YTILI Fellowship Program will run from October 2021 to September 2022, with U.S. travel elements scheduled for March 22, 2022 – April 27, 2022.

The YTILI Fellowship Program uses entrepreneurship as a tool for economic empowerment and to strengthen peaceful and collaborative transatlantic relationships. The Fellowship includes:

  • U.S. Fellowship
    YTILI Fellows will spend five weeks in the United States and experience entrepreneurship in action in one of nine U.S. cities through a fellowship placement. Each Fellow will participate in and observe the operations of a host U.S. organization from his or her business sector. Through collaboration with their fellowship host organizations, Fellows will accelerate their commercial and social ventures’ success by developing action plans to carry out upon their return to their home communities.

  • Entrepreneurship Curriculum
    The entrepreneurship curriculum will provide YTILI Fellows the opportunity to connect their entrepreneurial knowledge and their leadership mindset through both virtual and in person components. Designed by WorldChicago, DePaul University (Chicago, IL) and GEA College (Ljubljana, Slovenia), the curriculum will include a series of synchronous and asynchronous seminars and workshops before, during, and after the U.S. Fellowship to give practical insights into growing a business or organization.

  • U.S. Based Conferences
    The U.S. Fellowship will launch with an Opening Conference in Chicago, IL in March 2022. YTILI Fellows will participate in an orientation, workshops, seminars, and one-on-one dialogues. From these critical conversations, Fellows will discover how the resilient tools of entrepreneurship and innovation have launched an economic rebirth as they prepare for their U.S. fellowship placement. Following their fellowship placement, Fellows will reassemble in Washington, D.C. for a Closing Conference to collaborate, share their experiences, and network with business and social entrepreneurial leaders and U.S. government representatives.

  • Innovation Summit & Reciprocal Exchange
    Reconvening in Ljubljana, Slovenia in September 2022 for a Regional Innovation Summit, Fellows and fellowship hosts will engage in professional development, mentorships, networking, and alumni activity. U.S. fellowship hosts will have the opportunity to attend the Innovation Summit as American participants to continue their entrepreneurial growth through reciprocal exchanges to their Fellows' home communities. WorldChicago will also make small grants available for Fellows, now YTILI Alumni, to promote the expansion of entrepreneurship throughout Europe.

Since its launch in 2016, approximately 300 alumni from across Europe have bolstered their business skills and transatlantic partnerships through the YTILI Fellowship Program.

For more information visit the YTILI website at YTILI Fellowship Program - Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (ytili-worldchicago.org) or sign up for the YTILI Newsletter by clicking here.

The YTILI Fellowship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by WorldChicago.

Being an entrepreneur myself who is always in the hustle to create “more,” I rarely have time to pause and think about what I am grateful for. Now that this year is coming to a close, I can finally sit down and reflect. There is a lot to be grateful for in my life, and my YTILI experience is definitely on the top of my list. Why? Because it helped me grow as an entrepreneur and as a human being.

Elena Nikolova, Bulgaria, 2018 YTILI Fellow

Learn More

To learn more about the YTILI Fellowship Program including eligibility, how to apply, and program specifics, please visit the YTILI website.

Learn More

The YTILI Fellowship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by WorldChicago.

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