2017 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows

The U.S. Embassy is proud to announce the 2017 cohort from Trinidad and Tobago 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 by promoting a diverse exchange of culture, entrepreneurship, and innovation.  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 five young leaders from Trinidad and Tobago — Keron Bascombe, Kristle Gangadeen, Brent Eversley, Melissa Gabriel, and Ricky Bhowram 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.

The YLAI Professional Fellows Program kicks off October 4 – 6 with 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 November 6 – 8 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 that strengthens business ties between the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago.

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.

Meet the Fellows:

Keron Bascombe is the founder of Tech4Agri, a company that provides information that relates to technology, innovation, and success in agriculture. Tech4Agri targets youth ages 15-39 with the goal of empowering and motivating them in the field of agriculture. Keron has previously worked as a Social Reporting Trainer for the Technical Center for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness from the University of the West Indies.

Kristle Gangadeen is the Co-Founder and Marketing and Communications Director of Awedis Ltd, a company that creates, elevates, and markets traditional foods from Trinidad and Tobago. Awedis Ltd. seeks to reduce the import bill in Trinidad and Tobago by using locally-sourced raw ingredients. Kristle has previously worked as a Corporate Communications specialist at the Tourism Development Company and has served as a Group Facilitator at the University of the West Indies for Master’s level courses in Marketing Management. She holds a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of the West Indies.

Brent Eversley is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Green Farm Nation Ltd (GFN), a company that brings advanced technology to primary agriculture production. Brent has previously worked in the Farmers’ Training Center at the Ministry of Agriculture and with the Trinidad and Tobago Agri-Business Association as a greenhouse technician, agricultural assistant, extension officer, and farm manager. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness Management and Environment and Natural Resources Management from the University of the West Indies.

Mel Gabriel is the Founder and CEO of Caribbean Lookbook, a multimedia fashion and lifestyle platform. Caribbean Lookbook has expanded the way consumers interact with Caribbean fashion. She also founded Middle Face Media, a digital media network which produces and distributes film and Internet-TV content. Mel holds an LCCI diploma in Public Relations and Marketing from the Institute of Training and Development.

Ricky Bhowram is the Founder and Creative Director of the lifestyle luxury brand Bhowram Atelier (BA). This company provides tailored apparel to customers and supports the preservation of the environment and their culture. BA represented Trinidad and Tobago in 2015 at Western Canadian fashion week, and the company led a series of fashion workshops in Guyana in 2016. Today BA retails at two locations locally and hopes to tap into an international market. Ricky holds a BA in Fashion and Design from the Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design.