Remarks by Ambassador Dogu
March 29, 2017
Good evening everyone. Thank you for the invitation to attend this evening’s very impressive presentations and to participate as a judge in the pitch competition.
To all of you who participated in the Incuba Entrepreneurship Workshop over these past five weeks–Congratulations! Nicaragua now has 35 more well-trained entrepreneurs and future business leaders. Tthe results speak for themselves. The ideas that you all presented in pitch competition were quite remarkable.
The need for entrepreneurs like you is greater today than it has ever been before in Nicaragua, and indeed the world. The U.S. Embassy is proud to support Nicaraguan innovators, entrepreneurs and small businesses, recognizing their critical role in building a more prosperous future. The world is changing rapidly, and if Nicaragua’s economy is to continue to grow, it must adapt to these changes. It is the entrepreneurs who have the right combination of innovation, determination, and foresight that will lead this effort.
For our part at the U.S. Embassy, we are working to connect dynamic Nicaraguans with each other and their American counterparts through our international exchange programs such as the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative or YLAI. Noel Sampson and Francisco González, who coordinated this workshop, were part of the 2016 YLAI exchange program in the United States. They travelled to the United States along with eight other Nicaraguans to form part of a group of 250 YLAI fellows from the Western Hemisphere.
Their six-week exchange program included an orientation in Dallas, Texas, and placements at U.S. businesses and organizations in 21 city hubs across the United States, and a final YLAI Summit in Washington, D.C. Noel partnered with Soren Simonsen, his host in Utah, and as a result, Noel created this workshop and won a YLAI Reverse Exchange Award, which is why Soren is here in Nicaragua presenting to you about entrepreneurship.
In addition to building connections with the United States, YLAI also builds connections between younger leaders and entrepreneurs across the Hemisphere, a great example of this is the YLAI alumni from Mexico and Honduras who shared their business ideas through a video session last Saturday with Incuba participants.
The YLAI Network is a vibrant community of young entrepreneurs and change makers and is a signature part of the U.S. Embassy’s efforts to increase partnerships with future leaders to help promote economic growth and strengthen civil society.
I should note that also in the audience this evening we have the YLAI Project Director, Thea Richards, from our partner organization Meridian International Center. She is in Nicaragua to help promote and encourage young entrepreneurs such as all of you here to be a part of the YLAI network and apply for the YLAI fellowship. Applications for this year’s YLAI Fellowship will open April. Please check out the U.S. Embassy Facebook page for announcements and in the meantime, I encourage you all to join the YLAI network online to stay up to date on the latest opportunities.
Finally, and most importantly, I encourage you all to stay connected with each other and to keep working together in building a more prosperous Nicaragua. Thank you.
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