In February and March 2016, Meridian was proud to welcome 24 entrepreneurs from 20 countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean as part of the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Pilot Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Meridian is always happy to hear from its alumni, and is particularly proud to share what Luis Loaiza, Alejandro Carbonell, and Triston Thompson have been up to since the conclusion of the program.
Led by Triston Thompson, YLAI alum from Guyana, IntellectStorm was working on their latest project, Directory.Gy, a fully responsive website and mobile application that serves as a hub of information for events happening in Guyana. It was launched on May 13 and was named the official application of Guyana’s 50th Anniversary Celebration by Telecommunication and Tourism Minister Cathy Hughes.
Recently a co-founder of IntellectStorm pitched Directory.GY at the PitchIT Caribbean Challenge in Jamaica and captured one of the coveted winning spots.
Led by Alejandro Carbonell, YLAI Alum from Panama, Tutorez had record bookings in April and doubled their subscription base in May. In addition, they were approached by Uber Panama in the beginning of May to start a partnership.
Tutorez is now an educational provider to families of Uber drivers. Through this partnership, 2500 families now have access to Tutorez through Uber with discounted prices, the drivers can become tutors and the clients of Tutorez can have special discounts on their rides.
Shippify and Criptext are two platforms led by Luis Loaiza, YLAI alum and tech entrepreneur from Ecuador.
Shippify established their official offices in Santiago, Chile and Belo Horizonte, Brazil, closing seed round with investments from Mena Ventures, Aramex and other private investors in the region. With these investments, Luis is planning to expand the platform to new markets in Mexico, Argentina and Colombia. Shippify also won $25,000 at the 1776 Challenge Cup on June 10, 2016, the culmination of nine months of local, regional, and global pitch competitions.
During the April 2016 earthquake in Ecuador, Shippify provided their platform to match donors with volunteers to ensure the delivery of kitchen supplies, mattresses, wood and clothing from the donor’s house to distribution centers.
Criptext successfully launched a mobile messaging app to showcase their secure messaging service. Criptext is now seeking banks and healthcare companies to embed secure messaging experiences inside their own apps.
The Meridian Team would like to reiterate how proud we are of the positive impact the YLAI Alumni are bringing to their communities, and we look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
We will be hosting 250 new YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean in October and November 2016 as part of the YLAI Professional Fellows Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. This Presidential Initiative aims to empower entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to the social and economic development in their communities. They will be in the United States for a five-week period, and they will be placed in start-ups, small businesses, non-governmental organizations and similar entities to advance their projects. We believe that the YLAI Network will positively impact entrepreneurship in the region and empower the communities of Latin America and the Caribbean in their development.