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Meet the Dominican participants of the YLAI 2020-2021 Program
January 20, 2021


The United States Embassy in the Dominican Republic is pleased to announce the beginning of the 2021 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellowship.

The YLAI program aims to connect and empower entrepreneurs and innovators from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada with the training and resources they need to transform their societies and fully contribute to economic development and prosperity, security, and good governance in the hemisphere.

In 2021, YLAI will bring together 260 young leaders in a virtual training and networking program for entrepreneurs. The YLAI Fellows will complete a personalized business curriculum, work with a U.S. host organization, and collaborate with U.S. mentors to develop best practices and address shared business challenges in the region. Since its launch in 2015, thirteen entrepreneurs from Santo Domingo, Samaná, and Puerto Plata have participated in this competitive program.

This year, seven entrepreneurs from Santo Domingo, Santiago de los Caballeros, and Bahoruco will participate in this program:

Gerson Aquino

Gerson is a business associate and accounting assistant at Agua Ben. This family business provides water for domestic consumption in Neiba, Bahoruco. During the fellowship, he will work on the company structure to make it more effective, benefit from social media, and improve customer service.

 Selenia Indhira Bobadilla

Selenia is the founder and manager of Armonizarte. This mental health organization provides psychology and personal development services, such as workshops, training, interventions, and social projects. Selenia aims to learn how to establish a self-sustaining business, establish win-win partnerships, and develop new therapeutic products for a national market.

Miyuki Kasahara

Miyuki is the co-founder of Pretty Busy Club (PBC), a business training, mentoring, and networking platform. PBC helps Hispanic entrepreneurs develop, grow, and scale their businesses. She aims to gain expertise in growing startup operations, expanding into new markets, developing new business models, and creating new sources of income for the company.

Yehisson Peñaló

Yehisson is the co-founder and executive director of the Macaón Medical Training Center, which helps health professionals develop skills through targeted training to save and improve lives. During the program, Yehisson aims to develop new skills to create new alliances and expand the company in the Dominican Republic.

Melqui Pérez

Melqui is the CEO and founder of MEPS Intérpretes, a sign language interpreting agency. Melqui aims to learn advanced strategies to expand  MEPS Intérpretes’ client portfolio and incorporate commercial strategies and techniques to improve the inclusion and economic participation of people with hearing disabilities in the Dominican Republic.

Elías Serulle

Elías is a comedian and a member of Comedy Club RD. During the program, Elías wants to learn strategies to create new professional opportunities within comedy. He is looking to take advantage of comedic skills such as writing, professional collaborations, and developing new products and income sources that don’t depend on live performances.

Omar Vidal

Omar is CEO of Omar Vidal Photography & Films and provides professional photography, digital retouching, filming, and graphic design services. During the program, Omar aims to learn about entrepreneurship, financial management, branding, and marketing.

About the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI)

YLAI is the Department of State’s flagship program to empower emerging entrepreneurs from the Western Hemisphere to enable the full economic potential of the region’s citizens. Combining a yearly fellowship program, an active and open online network, and ongoing engagement from U.S. embassies, YLAI fosters prosperity, inclusive development, and democratic values. YLAI also promotes U.S. business models, increased trade, and job creation.

The 2021 YLAI fellows were selected through a competitive application process with over 2,300 eligible applicants. Those selected represent 37 countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. Fellows work in diverse industries including agriculture, clean energy, e-commerce, education, food and beverage, health care, hospitality, marketing and branding, and others. We invite you to read their profiles here.