As a mentor to young professionals, hosting transatlantic partnerships represents a special honor. Transatlantic mentoring programs strengthen entrepreneurship in the U.S. and abroad. The Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) connects European and Eurasian young entrepreneurs with U.S. mentors in cities across the country and is sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
The 2018 YTILI Opening Summit in June, brought mentors and entrepreneurs together in Portugal, where participants discussed similarities and differences between the U.S. innovation ecosystem and European and Eurasian innovation ecosystems. Domain experts assisted fellows in fine-tuning pitch strategies and other related topics. YTILI fellows include young entrepreneurs between the ages of 24-35 with either commercial or social ventures that they are seeking to scale in their home countries. In 2018, 70 YTILI Fellows from Europe will benefit from mentorships at businesses, institutions, and civil society organizations across the U.S., building their networks and partnerships to help attract investments and support for their ventures. By experiencing new perspectives, YTILI fellows will also develop the expertise to better engage in policy conversations in their home countries, across Europe, and in the transatlantic market.
In October, Pittsburgh will host eight entrepreneurs with businesses ranging from bio-decontamination devices for healthcare, a global navigation satellite system correction provider, technology to produce rare parts for classic cars. During their one week stay in Pittsburgh, fellows will learn about Pittsburgh’s cultural and innovation ecosystems and meet with key members of the community to gain knowledge and connections, and to learn about entrepreneurship in the U.S.
Mentoring provides rich benefits not only for the mentee, but also for the mentor, as I have learned through YTILI, as well as Women In Bio’s MAPs program, and as a Brandeis Innovation Mentor. As a mentor, I have built strong relationships with individuals who have opened the door to their own connections when I have needed them. I have also learned from my mentees – from alternative ways to approach difficult situations to gaining deeper knowledge in subject areas important to the mentee. However, the most important benefit I have experienced as a mentor is the energy and inspiration of working with entrepreneurs who are pursuing their dreams and solving important problems.
International programs, such as YTILI, have an added benefit, as we can learn across cultures to foster creativity in finding solutions at home, here in Pittsburgh.
For more information on the YTILI Fellowship program, contact Marissa Kuzirian at the PLSG.