YTILI Fellowship: Empowering European Entrepreneurs

The 2019 Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) Fellowship Program application period opens on November 15, 2018 and closes on January 4, 2019 at 5:00EST.

To access the YTILI application, please follow the directions in the online portal below. Please note that Applicants must first determine their eligibility before accessing the complete application. Detailed application instructions are also available in here.

Launched in 2016, the Young Transatlantic Innovative Leaders Initiative Fellowship is the flagship program of the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) of the US Department of State and is supported in its implementation by The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

YTILI empowers young European entrepreneurs and innovators with the tools, networks, and resources they need to grow their enterprises and contribute more fully to economic development and job creation, security, and good governance in the region. YTILI is also a vehicle for building a transatlantic network of innovators that can contribute to on an ongoing policy dialogue that strengthens the transatlantic relationship.

In 2019, the YTILI Fellowship will engage young European entrepreneurs in a series of professional development and leadership activities that are designed to support the growth and development of commercial and social business ventures in their home communities. The fellowship includes an Opening Summit in Europe, a week-long experience in a U.S. host city, a Closing Conference in Washington, DC, and online engagement-training opportunities. The 2019 YTILI Fellowship year runs from April 1, 2019 to October 31, 2019 with U.S. travel components planned for September 2019.
A detailed overview of the program elements, participation requirements, and expectations is available below in the Resources Section of our site.

Why apply?

• Gain professional experience, skills, and connections valuable to enhancing your business or social venture;
• Connect with a dynamic group of experts and mentors in the United States and Europe;
• Expand your professional network and develop relationships with peers and counterparts on both sides of the Atlantic;
• Explore the policy context, financial landscape, and networks of U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystems;
• Join a growing network of dynamic European entrepreneurs committed to enhancing the transatlantic relationship and contributing to the growth of entrepreneurial ecosystems in their home communities.

Eligibility Criteria and Selection Process

The YTILI Fellowship selection process is a merit-based open competition. The application period opens on Thursday, November 15, 2018 and closes at 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 4, 2019.

To be eligible candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Are between the ages of 24 and 35 on November 15, 2018.
• Are a citizen of one of the participating countries*: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
• Currently reside in one of the participating countries*: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom.
• Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
• Have at least two (2) years of entrepreneurial/leadership experience with a startup business or social venture.
• Are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
• Are not a U.S. government employee.
• Are proficient in reading, writing and speaking English.

After the deadline, all eligible applications will be reviewed and scored against the published evaluation criteria available in the YTILI Overview Selection Process 2019 document.

Following the initial review, U.S. Department of State and GMF will select a group of semi-finalists to be interviewed by the U.S. embassies or consulates in their home countries. Notification of the fellowship award will be made by the end of March. Further details on the selection process and application instructions are available in the documents below.

A Facebook Q&A with Staff and alumni will be held on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 to address any additional questions. Make sure to like the YTILI Facebook Page.

Inquiries regarding this program should be directed to

Program Details

The 2019 YTILI Fellowship year will commence on April 1, 2019 and conclude on October 31, 2019. The cohort of fellows will engage in a robust program of in-person and virtual engagement during this time, including travel to the United States, which is the centerpiece of the fellowship experience. The full 2019 YTILI cohort will be connected virtually in pre-departure activities, an online platform, and at the opening summit in The Netherlands. Additional pre-departure and post-fellowship activities may be offered by individual U.S. embassies and consulates in the fellows’ current countries of residence. The following section outlines the main elements of the YTILI fellowship administered by GMF and its partners.

  • Orientation Webinar: All fellows will be required to participate in an orientation webinar to review the expectations of the program, launch the online platform, and begin the process of building a unified YTILI cohort. (Online; April 2019)
  • Opening European Summit: From June 1-6, 2019, YTILI Fellows will convene in Europe for an Opening Summit where they will meet their U.S. mentor teams and plan for their fellowship experience. Programming will also include additional professional development, networking, and peer-to-peer learning. U.S. and European experts in entrepreneurship and innovation will participate in the summit. The summit will be an opportunity for the fellows to prepare for the U.S. immersive experience, set goals for their fellowship year, and network across the full cohort of fellows. Departures will be scheduled for June 6. Additional details on the agenda will be shared throughout the fellowship year. (The Netherlands; June 1-6, 2019)
  • One-Week Immersive U.S. Experience: Fellows will be sent to selected U.S. cities with established or emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems for a one-week (7 business day) experience. During this period, fellows are expected to: (1) participate in activities outlined by the local mentor teams, which will vary by city, but may include individual appointments and/or events set up by the fellow, business advising with mentors, and group cultural activities; (2) explore the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the U.S. city to understand the policy context, institutional and financial landscape, and local networks that support innovation; (3) complete a revised pitch presentation and reflections of U.S. experience blog post. (September 7—14, 2019)
  • Washington, DC, Program: Fellows will conclude their experience in the United States with a program in Washington, DC. This concluding program will focus on three elements: (1) building the YTILI cohort and peer learning exchange; (2) networking with top U.S. government officials, as well as, global public, private, and non-profit leaders; (3) engaging in a transatlantic dialogue around issues of entrepreneurship and innovation. (Washington, DC; September 15—18, 2019)
  • Online Platform: As part of the fellowship experience, GMF and U.S. Department of State will offer an online platform for internal exchange and knowledge sharing. The platform will also provide an opportunity for additional training and skills development that complement the U.S. experience. (Online; Fellowship Year)
  • Additional Activities: Fellows and a mentor may jointly apply for a Transatlantic Dialogue (TAD) mini-grant to support travel and exchange after the U.S. Experience in the fellow’s home city. A limit number of TAD and other programs offered by U.S. missions abroad (conferences, alumni events and regional programs) may also be available to fellows in good standing. Additional information on these activities will be provided at the start of the program. (Various; Fellowship Year)

Fellowship Selection Process and Activity Timeline:

Activity Dates
Application release Thursday, November 15, 2018
Application close Friday, January 4, 2019 at 5pm EST
Initial Application Review & Scoring Friday, January 4 – Friday, January 18
Semi-Finalist Selection & Notification of Status Sent to All Applicants Monday, January 28
Semi-Finalist Interviews by US Embassies or Consulates (In Country of Residence)* Monday, February 4 – Friday, February 15
Fellowship Selection Monday, February 18 – Monday February 25
Notification of Status Sent to All Semi-Finalists Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Public Announcements of 2019 Fellows Wednesday, March 6, 2019
European Opening Summit Saturday, June 1 –Thursday, June 6
U.S. Immersive Experience Saturday, September 7 – Saturday, September 14
Washington, DC closing conference Sunday, September 15 – Wednesday, September 18



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YTILI in the News


Good Work Network, Loyola, and Propeller Host International Entrepreneurs – Loyola University, October 9, 2018

Young European Entrepreneurs Facing Diverse Challenges Benefit from American Mentors – The German Marshall Fund of the United States, August 9, 2018

YTILI Closing Summit Video 2018 – The German Marshall Fund of the United States, May 2, 2018

Trends in Innovation from Young European Leaders – The German Marshall Fund of the United States, April 13, 2018

Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellows – U.S. Department of State, April 10, 2018

Entrepreneurship from Seattle to Cyprus – The German Marshall Fund of the United States, February 13, 2018

Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellows – U.S. Department of State, May 31, 2017

Young Transatlantic Innovative Leaders Initiative Opens Again for Applications – Nordic Startup Bits, January 2017

Why Doing Business Can Be the Best of Therapies (French) – ChEEk Magazine, January 2017

How to Get One Month in America with Full Scholarship! (Greek) – Huffington Post, January 2017

The Dublin fireman at scene of new transatlantic initiative – The Irish Times, October 2016

Northumberland Entrepreneur Inspired by President Obama – The Northeast Hub, September 2016

Launch of 2016 Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) – U.S. Department of State, June 2016

Fact Sheet on Global Entrepreneurship Summit – The White House, June 2016

Meet the young entrepreneur who is taking innovation to the next level – One Young World

YTILI on Medium

RSS Stories by YTILI on Medium

  • The rise of positive impact companies Apr 19, 2018
    Written by Berend Jan Kleute, 2017 YTILI Fellow, The Netherlands 🇳🇱Berend Jan Kleute, 2017 YTILI Fellow, The NetherlandsPrivileged to be selected for the YTILI Fellowship, I travelled full with enthusiasm to the United States in June 2017 to join the YTILI program. I was ready to pitch the renewable energy solution that I am working […]
  • Local to Unlimited Apr 18, 2018
    Written by Kostapanos Miliaressis, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Greece 🇬🇷Kostapanos Miliaressis, 2017 YTILI Fellow, GreeceIt can be hard to tell when a story exactly begins. Was it when I was an eight-year-old joining Boy Scouts? Or when, with my mates, we won a start-up idea competition and we created GloVo (now ethelon)? I guess the starting point would […]
  • Learning from the best and the pioneers Apr 16, 2018
    Written by Jelena Filipovic, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Montenegro 🇲🇪Jelena Filipovic, 2017 YTILI Fellow, MontenegroMy main motive for applying for the YTILI Fellowship was my desire to learn from the best available examples of successful enterprises in my field of work — the food industry. As a small enterprise that aims at a niche target of people dedicated […]
  • From the economic crisis in Greece to United States with a full fellowship Apr 11, 2018
    Written by Vasiliki Ntampasi, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Greece 🇬🇷Vasiliki Ntampasi, 2017 YTILI Fellow, GreeceThe story begins in early February 2017 when our team caught an eye on the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI), a program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Without a second thought and […]
  • Experiencing the Boston Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Apr 10, 2018
    What I Learned at the Epicenter Community as a 2017 YTILI FellowWritten by Anna Toth, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Hungary 🇭🇺As a young Hungarian social changemaker on a two-week fellowship in Boston, I learned that diversity is one of the key factors of building an entrepreneurial ecosystem.I co-organized an entrepreneurship event in Budapest, Hungary, called 6:20ChiliNights, where we […]
  • Entrepreneurship in Unexpected Places Apr 9, 2018
    Written by Javier Villaseca, 2017 YTILI Fellow, SpainWhen I was selected by the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative — YTILI program, I thought about the opportunities that would open for me and my startup. I imagined myself in San Francisco or New York, living the experience of being in the global epicenter of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.My first surprise […]
  • 7 Lessons from a 2017 YTILI Fellow Apr 8, 2018
    Written by Olly Paulovich, 2017 YTILI Fellow, United Kingdom 🇬🇧It’s hard not to know anything about U.S. startup ecosystem. From the news in the media to the TV series, American startups seem to rock.When I saw the opening of YTILI program, it was impossible to resist applying: a chance of first-hand learning from the market leaders is […]
  • Off the beaten startup path Apr 6, 2018
    Written by Lucia Gallíková, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Slovakia 🇸🇰Lucia Gallíková, 2017 YTILI Fellow, SlovakiaTo begin with — if I had the option to pick from other U.S.-based hardware companies I could not have made a better choice. Whoever from the German Marshal Fund team paired me up with the guys from Power Practical did a great job!My host company Power […]
  • The Inspiration for a New Beginning Apr 5, 2018
    Written by Christina Athanasopoulou, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Finland 🇫🇮Day 1 of the orientation in Washington, D.C.About two and a half months have passed since I returned home from the visit to United States as a ‘Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative’ (YTILI) fellow. Still, I feel I have not fully processed this once-in-a-lifetime experience.As mentioned during our […]
  • What is YTILI, and what can it bring to the table? Apr 5, 2018
    Written by Arturs Burnins, 2017 YTILI Fellow, Latvia 🇱🇻In the beginning of spring, I was accepted to the YTILI Fellowship. I was surprised and happy, since I don’t usually participate in some kind of competitions or programs. But YTILI is something more than that, so I tried my luck.Young Transatlantic Innovative Leaders Initiative Fellowship (first launched in […]

RSS Stories applauded for by YTILI on Medium

  • #YTILI — Lifetime experience part 2 (Chicago). Jul 20, 2016
    After the great start of YTILI fellowship in Washington, DC part of us flew to Chicago to spend the main part of the program — 2 weeks professional placement.1st line from left to right: UK, Austria, Hungary; 2nd line Bulgaria, France, 3rd line: Germany, MacedoniaWe we warmly welcomed by “World Chicago” team at their headquarters.All of us […]
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  • Meet GES Delegate: Blagica Petreski Jun 17, 2016
    Meet GES Delegate: Blagica PetreskiBlagica Petreski, CEOName: Blagica PetreskiTwitter handle: @FinanceThinkMkCountry of Origin: MacedoniaOrganization Name: Finance Think — Economic Research & Policy Institute, SkopjeOrganization Website: www.financethink.mkBrief Description of Organization: Finance Think is an Economic Research & Policy Institute based in Skopje, Macedonia. Our Vision is to steer economic thinking for increased well-being tomorrow. Our Mission is to alleviate poverty, […]
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  • Meet GES Delegate: Ina Paunova Jun 15, 2016
    mExhibiting at the chocolate festival, Sofia, Bulgaria — March 2016.Twitter Handle: Ina Paunova (@ina_paunova)Country of Origin: BulgariaOrganization Name: Rosey’s markOrganization Website: www.roseysmark.comDescription of Organization: At ROSEY’S MARK we create innovative specialty natural and organic foods from roses like jam, tea and chocolate. We provide delight for all the senses, supply people with joy, love, and youth as oil-bearing roses are […]
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  • All Fired Up Jun 7, 2016
    Photo by Ame IgharoBy Acumen Fellow Ame IgharoWhen you see Violet Mokaya zipping the forklift across the factory floor of BURN Manufacturing, you’d never believe she was shy and unsure of herself when she joined the Acumen investee, a company providing clean, energy-efficient cookstoves for Kenya’s poor. Today, the 27-year-old Nairobi native is seen by her colleagues […]


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