U.S. Consulate General Announces the 2017 Cohort of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program

Flavina Wanga - YLAI 2017

The U.S. Consulate General is proud to announce the 2017 cohort from Curacao, Aruba, and St. Maarten for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program. The YLAI program supports 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 Latin America so that your [Latin America’s] prosperity and
our prosperity will continue to expand together.”

The five-week program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, will bring 250 young leaders from 36 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to the United States to augment their business or social venture plans, learn from U.S. counterparts, and share best practices. This year we are pleased to announce that two young leaders from Curacao, one from Aruba, and one from St. Maarten have been accepted out of more than 3,000 applications to the YLAI Professional Fellows Program. The fellows are business and social entrepreneurs engaged in start-ups, small businesses, non-governmental organizations, and similar entities focused on agriculture, clean energy, consulting, e-commerce, education, entrepreneurship development and support, food and beverage, health care, hospitality, LGBTI, marketing and branding, mobile applications, and women’s and youth empowerment.

This year’s fellows are:
Kawish Misier is the Co-founder and Treasurer of the Young Entrepreneurs Stichting of Aruba (YES Aruba), a non-profit NGO aimed at inspiring and
encouraging the sustainable growth of new small businesses and entrepreneurs in Aruba. Kawish has several years of experience as an
entrepreneur, including starting his own website hosting platform, Aruba Gateway, and eco-friendly cleaning supply manufacturer, Eco Power Cleaning.
He received an MA in International Business, a BA in Accounting & Finance, and a BA in Marketing, all from the University of Aruba.

Shamiro Anita started Bizness Success in 2016 and is currently the Founder and CEO. Bizness Success provides growing businesses with help and
services to expand, such as training, courses, software, and other tools. Before this, Shamiro worked at his family’s video store and eventually became the
manager. He started his own fire safety, security, and automation contracting company in 2012. Shamiro holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and a
Master’s in Business Management and Organizational Control from the University of Curacao.

Flavina Wanga is the managing director of Crab Claws Social Media. For more than two years her business has provided full social media services to clients,
including giving training, coaching, seminars, masterclasses, and free presentations to start ups and entrepreneurs. Before this, she worked for nine years at Ernst & Young and KPMG. She holds a degree in business economics from Haagse Hogeschool in the Netherlands and a certificate in accounting from the University of Curacao.

Rajendra Mohess is the Founder of the car rental company, Global Rent A Car. In an effort to provide visitors with an alternative to the large franchises, Global Rent A Car provides rental cars to visitors with customer service that imparts the friendly island vibe. He also works as a rental agent at Sixt Rent a Car. He has previous experience as a high school Agricultural Science Teacher and an Audit Clerk at the Audit Office of Guyana.

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program kicks off at a conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The young leaders then participate in four-week fellowships in cities throughout the United States, where host-businesses mentor and guide the fellows through an entrepreneurship curriculum. The program concludes with a closing Summit in Washington, D.C. focused on leadership and skills development training. Fellows return to their ventures with new skills, resources, on-going support from U.S.
counterparts and an improved network, strengthening business ties between the U.S. and the islands of the Dutch Caribbean.

The https://ylai.state.gov/ website includes information about the YLAI Professional Fellows Program and the YLAI Network. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State funded this program, which is implemented by the Meridian International Center in partnership with Atlas Corps and Entrepreneurs’ Organization and community-based members and universities throughout the U.S. For further information, please contact the U.S. Consulate General.