About YTILI Professional Fellows Program Application
Applications are considered by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the implementing partner for the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellowship Program. YTILI is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
Sign up for Updates
Meet The 2016 Fellows
Ms. Teida Shehi is the current Head of the Board of Directors for ERTER. In this position, her primary interest and involvement is fundraising, developing new ideas for project proposals, directing the organization on participating in regional networks, and advocating for the work of the organization. For the past seven years, Ms. Shehi has been working on several environmental projects dealing with waste management; energy efficiency; environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments; monitoring of environmental legislation progress; water sampling to analyze water quality in rivers; and joint regional projects on increasing the quality of university curricula. Ms. Shehi is currently developing a process to better educate her community of their rights when public services are being provided for them and hopes to train responsible public authorities in how to respect those rights. She also is in the process of developing a campaign program to increase public awareness on environmental issues.
Head of Board and Co-Founder, ERTER NGO
Environmental Management and Environmental Inspector, IBECA Project
Environmental Lecturer, Polis University
Environmental Expert, Co-Plan, Institute for Habitat Development
Ms. Eltjana Shkreli is one of the Founders and Project Manager of GO2, an NGO focused on territorial development in Shkoder focusing the development of multiple sectors: tourism, transportation, and urban and rural issues. Her primary responsibilities include consultancy on tourism and urban planning policies; public relations and promotion of GO2; organizing events and meetings on tourism; and drafting proposals for cross-border cooperation, transnational funding, and EU finding. Ms. Shkreli teaches territorial development to university students and presents the tourism industry as a career opportunity for young people in her community. She engages with youth by working with them as volunteers so they gain experience in the field, such as learning to write proposals on tourism projects.
Mr. Pavel Snkhchyan is the Vice President of Project and Program Management at Sourcio IT Consulting Company. In this role, Mr. Snkhchyan is responsible for the company’s operations, program management, business development, and customer relations management. In addition to his work with Sourcio IT Consulting Company, Mr. Snkhchyan is the CEO and Co-Founder of BrainBooth CJSC. BrainBooth developed a free mobile app called Eye Care Plus, created to detect early signs of eye disease and maintain eye health. The app identifies eye sight issues at an early stage, maintains healthy eye sight through training plans and exercise sets, and connects app users to doctors and optometrists. Eye Care Plus has over 400,000 downloads on Google Play, and 35,000 active users. He has been in the IT industry since 2005, and has extensive experience in community-based mobile healthcare and fitness projects. In the future, he hopes to implement a sophisticated and effective outreach strategy to publicize the Eye Care Plus to vulnerable populations throughout Armenia and the world.
Ms. Cornelia Mayer is the founder of Topfreisen, a nonprofit that provides opportunities for refugees to cook their traditional food and integrate into Austrian society. As the founder, Ms. Mayer is responsible for creating the business plan; building and leading a team of staff and volunteers; and navigating the legal framework for her business. In addition to her work with Topfreisen, she works as a social worker in child welfare for the government of Lower Austria. Ms. Mayer is truly an advocate for refugees. One of the major challenges she is attempting to help with is how to integrate refugees into European society. Her midterm plan for Topfreisen is to provide young refugees with a cooking apprenticeship. She hopes to optimize the company’s impact by not only providing refugees with jobs but also education and capacity building opportunities.
Social Worker in Child Welfare, Land Niederösterreic,
Government of Lower Austria
Ms. Romana Sigl is the founder of Coworking Salzburg, the first co-working space in Salzburg, Austria. Coworking Salzburg is a network and physical space that rents desks to entrepreneurs and small business owners in the region and provides childcare support for coworkers and working parents. Coworking Salzburg also functions as an event space and holds networking events for the community. As the founder of Coworking Salzburg, Ms. Sigl works to bring innovative thinkers together to solve societal issues. She recently developed an international event called “Coworking Camps” where entrepreneurs gather in Europe or the Middle East for one week to connect with each other. Ms. Sigl plans to organize an event series where start-ups from Salzburg can meet qualified and skilled immigrants and refugees who might be an asset to their teams, helping the immigrant community in Salzburg achieve more access to employment opportunities.
Founder, Coworking Salzburg
Lead Partner, Citylabor Salzburg
Ms. Shabnam Mammadova is the Senior Advisor in the Department for E-Governance Development, within the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of Azerbaijan. Her main duties include developing and implementing policy in the field of strategic planning, investment, and scientific potential in Azerbaijan, including implementing measures to encourage the development of competitive technologies. In addition, she develops proposals on improving the investment climate in Azerbaijan. Ms. Shabnam has a strong desire to contribute to the economy and growth of her country. One of the ways she plans to do this is through an organization she supports called High Tech Park. This is a venue by which she will be able to, with the support of High Tech Park employees and the Ministry of Communications, develop an acceleration program for young entrepreneurs and startups. This mentor program will apply a special goal-focused approach to mentoring, employing mentors with strengths in both business and leadership. Concurrently, she hopes to conduct leadership circle profile assessments of each mentee and use the trainer tool for interactions between mentor and mentee.
Senior Advisor, Department for E-Governance Development
Ministry of Communications and High Technologies, Republic of Azerbaijan
Mr. Vasili Veka is the CEO of Altwolf, a software development company located in Minsk, Belarus. In this position, his primary responsibilities include building the company’s strategy as a business analyst, developing new ideas, and communicating with business partners. Mr. Veka created an app named Combat Helicopter Assault Operations Simulator (CHAOS), which has more than 30 million downloads globally. He has been involved in the technology industry for over 18 years. Mr. Veka seeks to make Altwolf an environment of learning where students and recent graduates in his community can learn valuable game and software development skills.
CEO, Altwolf, LLC
Ms. Naida Dervišhalidović is the Coordinator of BIT Camp at BIT Alliance, located in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. BIT Camp is a six-month software development education program uniquely developed to meet the needs of the IT industry in the country and the wider region. In this position, Ms. Dervišhalidović oversees the general management of the program, including quality assurance of all curriculum tracks, marketing, events organization, and external partnerships. She has extensive experience in education management and has applied her expertise to the tech (IT) education sector. In her professional role, she has worked and liaised with local IT companies. Ms. Dervišhalidović seeks to expand her expertise and to utilize the accessibility of online platforms to provide high quality tech education. As the co-founder of doIT, she strives to expand its network and build business relationships with international clients for the purpose of software development and outsourcing. Ms. Dervišhalidović’s long-term goal is to create an ecosystem to attract and retain IT talent in the Bosnia and Herzegovina region through the fields of ed tech entrepreneurship, education management, and talent management in IT.
Country: Bosnia Herzegovina
BIT Camp Coordinator, BIT Alliance
Managing Director Education, Magaza
Ms. Ina Paunova is a Co-Founder and Business Development Manager of Rosey’s Mark, which develops a wide variety of products, focusing on food, using the Rosa damascene, the Bulgarian rose. Her current responsibilities include developing short-term and long-term business strategy, increasing sales, and communication with suppliers and customers. Rosey’s Mark has about 40 specialty partner stores in Bulgaria, one in the United Kingdom, and ships its products around the world. Ms. Paunova hopes to develop a plan for expanding her company’s distribution internationally, with particular interest in the United States. While Ms. Paunova is interested in maintaining her niche, regional market, which creates innovative products with the oil bearing rose, she wants to use the company’s value for successful brand development and growth of its international distribution.
Co-Founder and Business Development Manager, Rosey’s Mark
Office Manager of Logistics and Spare Parts, RIM Engineering
Ms. Antonija Horak is the Founder and CEO of TutoTod, an educational iPad app that gives parents ideas and detailed steps for simple arts and crafts projects to do with their children. The app is currently available for iPads, with plans to extend to iPhones and Apple TV. Her daily responsibilities include program management, creating new content for the app, and financial and marketing analysis. TutoTod is an alumnus of ZIP – the first incubator and accelerator program in Croatia.
Founder and CEO, TutoTod d.o.o.
Founder and CEO, Jedan šest d.o.o.
Mr. Yiannis Gavrielides is the Co-Founder and CEO of Covve, an online application that gives professionals the ability to network through their address book. Covve was founded in late 2013 through the participation of a San Francisco-based incubator, private investors, and an EU innovation grant. The beta program was released early 2015, and the company is currently participating in trials with companies located in Cyprus and the United Kingdom. As CEO, his role at Covve includes team management, investor relations, and marketing. He has extensive business experience, and has worked in consulting and banking abroad. He also invests in and helps build business in Cyprus through his venture Invelopment Partners. Mr. Gavrielides hopes to refine his business plan for expanding Covve operations to the United States, raise funds, and build a larger customer base abroad. He wants to continue supporting the startup community by connecting local and international investors and institutions to young companies in need of funding.
Ms. Dita Přikrylová is the Founder and CEO of Czechitas, a non-profit organization committed to educating and encouraging women in the IT sector. Czechitas organizes free educational workshops and seminars for women focusing on programming, graphic design, and web development. Czechitas runs several other programs, including the Academy of Programming; Data Girls, a summer IT camp for girls; and a mentoring programming project. As CEO, Ms. Přikrylová’s duties include strategy planning, team management, and financial accounting. Her mission through Czechitas is to inspire more women to pursue careers in the IT sector and hopes to implement a refined business model that reaches a broader public audience.
Country: Czech Republic
CEO, Czechitas, NGO
Data Analyst, Freelancer
Ms. Maarika Susi is a Board Member and the Sales and Partnership Manager at Garage48, a technological startup that organizes 48-hour hackathons in Eastern European region and Africa. They have organized more than 52 different events and managing the largest co-working space, Garage48 HUB, in Tallinn, Estonia. She has over nine years of international experience in sales and project management, including representing Estonia as the Ambassador for Estonia at Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, celebrated at the United Nations.
Board Member, Garage48 Foundation
Sales and Partnership Manager, Garage48
Inside Sales Team Lead, Pipedrive
Mr. Hannu Puras is a Co-Founder and Project Lead of FakeFish, a game development company located in Turku, Finland. FakeFish won Start Up Journey 2014, giving Mr. Puras the opportunity to attend the Game Developers Conference in 2015 in San Francisco. FakeFish was also selected as a Season 4 Alumni of the Fundable50. In the past, he has worked as a Prototype Project Leader at Optimov Aps in Denmark and is currently a Board Member at Boost Turku—a network for young entrepreneurs among the universities of Turku. His community action plan revolves around project management, effective use of resources, and the creation of strong communication tools.
Co-Founder and Program Lead, FakeFish
Board Member, Boost Turku
Ms. Mariame Tighanimine is a Co-Founder of Babelbag, a brand that designs and markets accessories and handbag-jewelry. Babelbag has also developed a business program aimed to those who aspire to run their own businesses. Among the solutions proposed to start a micro-business, there is the “Babelbag Business Box” to launch a connected and mobile micro-shop of different products revolving around the handbag. Ms. Tighanimine has years of experience in entrepreneurship, and co-founded Hijab in the City in 2008. In September 2010, she was nominated for the European Muslim Women of Influence Awards, sponsored by CEDAR, the British Council, and the American Embassy in London. She is interested in learning about the culture of U.S. start-ups and entrepreneurship, particularly in the more positive perspective on failure.
Mr. Archil Bakuradze is the founding Executive Chairman of JSC MFO Crystal, a local microfinance organization that supports micro and small business sectors in Georgia. In this role, he is primarily responsible for strengthening management resources, supporting innovation throughout the company, and ensuring the linkage between the corporation’s mission and the daily operations. Mr. Bakuradze has worked in the finance sector for over 10 years. He also co-founded Kerketi, a mobile-based platform for payments and remittances. His community action plan is aimed at gaining a better understanding of entrepreneurship support networks and financing mechanisms to help build a crowd-funding platform and media hub that support young entrepreneurs.
Executive Chairman, JSC MFO Crystal
Ms. Stefanie Turber is a Co-Founder and CEO of ComfyLight where she is responsible for strategy, sales, and finance. ComfyLight is an in-home security solution for private homes. The company’s mission is to provide homes with an affordable system packed into a single device—a sensor enhanced light bulb. The bulb is designed to detect unexpected movements near the home and alert the resident. Prior to her current position, she worked as a researcher at the Bosch loT Lab in St. Gallen where she worked on strategy development at ZEISS Group. She advanced ZEISS’ emerging markets strategy as the Head of the Project Management Office in Shanghai.
Co-Founder and CEO, ComfyLight
Ioanna is a 27 – year – old entrepreneurship consultant currently working at Impact Hub Athens. She graduated with a diploma in engineering from the Engineering Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and an MAs in economics from the University of Macedonia. She had studied with scholarships on student exchange in Berkeley University in California and Utrecht University in The Netherlands.
She is the project manager of Social Impact Award, the most important competition focusing on startups with a social impact. The aim of the competition is to help young entrepreneurs that want to solve a social problem in their first steps. The competition provides to the most bright minds of social innovation mentoring, counseling and an initial fund to start their business! She believes that ethics should be brought back to entrepreneurship and a social cause behind the entrepreneurial activity is the way to do so! After all, as she always states we tried to change the world with revolution and we failed grievously. Now it is time for innovation to change the world. And this the way for the Greek economy to get back its feet.
Consultant, Impact Hub Athens and Project Manager, Social Impact Award
Ms. Réka Oszlánczi is the Founder and CEO of Creppy Franchise System, a wave of restaurants based on crepes and pancakes. As Founder and CEO, Ms. Oszlánczi’s principle role includes administrative duties; organizing central marketing activities; management; and training new franchise owners. In 2014 she received the “Hope of the Future” award from the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Hungary. Ms. Oszlánczi’s community action plan would include a mentoring program in which she will advise young entrepreneurs on how to start a successful business and then franchise it. She also desires to focus more on the community member and “neighborhood” aspect of her restaurant and ways in which restaurants can build and strengthen local communities through events will be a major focus in upcoming years.
Ms. Thorunn Jonsdottir runs the website thorunnjons.com. She provides a myriad of services to startup companies, including consulting work, event organizing, business development, and project management. Ms. Jonsdottir has extensive business experience and has co-founded two successful startups. In addition to her consulting work, she writes for local and international media outlets on topics relevant to today’s society. Ms. Jonsdottir has been part of the startup scene in Iceland since 2007. In 2009, less than a few months after the financial crash in Iceland, she joined forces with a friends from her university and setup a free summer course in entrepreneurship with the aim of empowering people who were left unemployed to design their own future. Her main focus is on gender equality in business and society and as such she co-founded Korka, a network of over 2,000 female entrepreneurs in 2011. Ms. Jonsdottir is working with the Department of Labor in Iceland to a host a workshop on the topic of gender diversity in startup funding. She hopes this idea will be scaled first in the Nordic countries and then across Europe. Furthermore, she is organizing a hackathon as part of the Startup Iceland conference and in collaboration with Ultrahack, an international hackathon organization.
Mr. Neil McCabe is the Founder and CEO of The GreenPlan, an environmental startup and new system that empowers society to tackle climate change. The GreenPlan began as a way to save money for the Kilbarrack Fire Station, and evolved to more intense and sustainable practices. In 2012, the Kilbarrack Fire Station was named the world’s first Carbon Neutral Fire Station. The GreenPlan has since been utilized by more corporations in Dublin and is currently being expanded around the globe. Mr. McCabe is a self-taught environmental expert, who in addition to his work with The GreenPlan, also works as a Fireman with the Dublin City Fire Brigade and as an Environmental Consultant and Project Coordinator for the Dublin City Council. He won the Irish Green Leader Award in 2011 and 2014.
Founder and CEO, The GreenPlan
Fire Fighter and Paramedic, Dublin Fire Brigade
Mr. Artis Daugins is the Founder and current Board Member of Blue Shock Race. Blue Shock Race creates and sells electric sport carts, including customizable and personal carts. In this role, Mr. Daugins runs the design and production teams as well as bringing the product to market, and is looking forward to expanding internationally. He would like to gain insight into global marketing and product placement as he launches a new line of products. Mr. Daugins shares his experiences and mentors interns and other youth in his community through speaking engagements focused on entrepreneurship.
Board Member and Founder, Blue Shock Race Ltd.
Mr. Vidas Vasiliauskas is the Product Manager and Lead Developer at UAB Prewise, a software company that provides project management software to clients such as Tesla, BP, Intel, and other brands. In this role, he is primarily responsible for communicating client needs to the team, as well as defining the long-term vision of a product. He is also involved in software development and has nine years of experience on the .NET platform. Additionally, he has created several Windows Phone applications, including an app with over 250,000 downloads. Mr. Vasiliauskas works to share his knowledge and experiences with young entrepreneurs. He participates in start-up events to teach those with new start-up companies on how to reach the international market, especially in the United States. Mr. Vasiliauskas believes that in order to succeed in the international market, companies need to understand the culture of successful business in those countries. He is interested is in observing software companies driven by developers or banks in capital markets.
Product Owner, UAB Prewise
Co-Founder, MB No Breaks Games
Ms. Feyrouz Ashoura is the Owner and Creative Director of FEYROUZASHOURA, a fashion label based out of Luxembourg. In this position, she is responsible for art direction of creative projects; consulting and advising; mentoring youth and public speaking; and working as the community manager and event strategist. In addition to her work as a designer, she aims to bridge the gap between established businesses and startups by empowering youth through an online social media platform that transcends cultural boundaries. Her media platform, #BRAVEYOUTH will promote an exchange of ideas, guidance, and mentorship amongst youth communities world-wide. She has held internships and studied abroad in the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and France.
Owner and Creative Director, Feyrouzashoura
External Expert on Arts & Culture, Ministry of Education
Ms. Blagica Petreski is the CEO of Finance Think, a non-profit economic research and policy institute. In this role, she is primarily responsible for strategic planning, identifying new programming areas, and recognizing and overcoming challenges to the organization. She has many years of experience in finance, including working as a Financial Analyst and Researcher for Stopanska Banka AD Skopje for over five years. Ms. Petreski works on economic development in Macedonia and to improve the skills necessary to conduct economic research. She plans to develop a research hub within Finance Think which will conduct several activities including: devising a program and toolkit (methodology) for research trainings; organizing the research training for youth researchers; developing a network of economic researchers; and providing internships for students. The goal of the hub will be to improve research skills for economic topics, produce evidenced-based policy studies, and enhance the critical debate for relevant economic topics in the country.
Chief Economist and CEO, Finance Think Economic Research amd Policy Institute
Mr. Euchar Sultana is the Founder and CEO of Young Business Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit organization that represents young entrepreneurs in Malta. Young Business Entrepreneurs develops entrepreneurship programs for young students, contributes to policy-making decisions related to entrepreneurship, and raises awareness with the general public. Mr. Sultana is responsible for corporate development as well as general management. In addition to his work with Young Business Entrepreneurs, he works as a MIS Officer for the Government of Malta, within the Ministry for Energy and Health. He is also currently developing a start-up company called VaultSpot. The mission of the company is to provide necessary travel-related information to commuters through instant mobile messaging.
Founder and CEO, Young Business Entrepreneurs
MIS Officer, Government of Malta, Ministry for Energy and Health
Mr. Vladislav Șuleanschi is the Founder and Manager of Smokehouse, an American barbeque restaurant in Chișinău that also functions as a hub for the entrepreneurial community in Moldova. In his role as Founder and Manager, he is responsible for coordinating restaurant operations, establishing and maintaining collaborative relationships with suppliers and service providers, and supervising 19 employees. He also functions as the COO of The Moldova Company, the parent company to Smokehouse. The Moldova Company was designed as a vehicle to further small business development in Moldova. He along with a group of other representatives from new start-ups plan advocate for entrepreneurship and support for entrepreneurs within the government.
Country: Republic Of Moldova
Founder and Manager, Smokehouse
COO, The Moldova Company LLC
Ms. Ivana Ognjanović is an Assistant Professor at the University Donja Gorica, located in Podgorica, Montenegro. Her duties include research in the field of cyber security, teaching as a graduate level, and establishing working relationships with internationally leading organizations. Ms. Ognjanović is a specialist in cyber security, and her community action plan seeks to engage young researchers who are capable of resolving open issues in cyber space, and of other interested parties, in the creation of a Regional Cyber Security Center. Her research activities are also focused on enhancing cyber security issues over cloud solutions, with special focus on the medical sector, all enhanced by use of semantic technologies and artificial intelligence.
Assistant Professor, University Donja Gorica, Montenegro
Ms. Laura Klauss is a Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Better Future Factory, a multi-disciplinary design, environmental, and engineering company which finds and develops creative yet realistic sustainable solutions to the pressing issues relating to the environment. The principles of a circular economy are incorporated in their approach as a key means of reducing the demand for natural resources and to contribute to more sustainable patterns of production and consumption. As Co-Owner, Ms. Klauss is responsible for leading the technological developments within ongoing projects, including analyzing, researching, and implementing new technological processes. The projects range from 3D-printer filament made from old car dashboards, to the development of low tech machinery enabling people in developing countries to produce “marble” tiles and thread and yarn, out of used PET bottles. The Netherlands have a number of sheltered workshops where people and women do manual jobs or crafts. The products they make often disappear somewhere without being used. She hopes to link the crafting skills of these people to the technologies developed by her company. Together, she would like to look at what products they could make and what product demand exists in the Dutch market.
Country: The Netherlands
Co-Founder and Co-Owner, Better Future Factory
Mr. Yosef Safi Harb is the Founder of Happitech, a digital health firm based in Amsterdam which uses smartphones to detect heart disorders. Happitech has won national and international awards with over 180 press publications. Using the camera of the phone in combination with smart algorithms, it is possible to measure vital signs like Heart Rate and Heart Rate Variability which can detect heart disorders. Happitech is currently collaborating with a leading cardiology hospital and has licensed their technology to three Dutch insurance companies. Mr Harb would like to learn about how investors support entrepreneurs and start-ups in the United States. .
Country: The Netherlands
Mr. Lars Kintel is the Founder and current CEO of Sous AS (Ltd.), an engineering firm that develops new technology for the home sous vide cooking industry. As Founder and CEO, his role includes development and research, as well as general management and business strategy. Mr. Kintel currently fills the role as one of 13 Ambassadors for Northern Norway. This position gives him a solid base to distribute and spread knowledge gained during his stay in the U.S. to promote entrepreneurship specifically in global indigenous communities. As Ambassador of Northern Norway, he seeks to support a strong culture of innovation in the region where entrepreneurs are highly valued and recognized.
Founder and CEO, Sous AS (Ltd.)
Mr. Piotr Chmielewski is the Owner and Business Trainer of Social Media Now, a social media marketing agency. The agency designs and implements strategies aimed at achieving quantitative and measurable business results. In this position, he is responsible for coordinating and managing a team of 13 people, creating social media strategies for clients and running workshops for marketers, advertising agencies, and entrepreneurs. Mr. Chmielewski’s community action plan will involve creating a series of online workshops and seminars that demonstrate how to overcome common challenges in the startup sector as well as creating a mobile app that helps his customers acquire social media marketing knowledge.
Owner and Business Trainer, Social Media Now
Mr. Paweł Nowicki is a Co-Founder and current CEO of BTM Innovations, an independent tech transfer organization, responsible for scouting and developing IP and the creation of new ventures. As CEO, his duties include developing and executing the vision and business strategy, managing existing partner relations, and actively searching for new partners and new business opportunities. In addition to his work with BTM Innovations, he is a Co-Founder and Board Member at the Innovative Poland Foundation, as well as a member of the U.S.-Polish Innovation Program Council. The Warsaw region has become a hub for biosciences and has developed a scientific base with innovative R&D infrastructure. Mr. Nowicki is looking to start a bio-incubator in Warsaw for these businesses: Warsaw R&D Gate. Initial studies to gauge the need for this kind of business support revealed that emerging businesses have no place to start their operations and many are located in research laboratories with little opportunity for expansion. Warsaw R&D Gate will provide startups with the resources and tools needed to grow their businesses.
Co-Founder and CEO, BTM Innovations
Mr. Gonçalo Lopes is the current Chief Technology Officer of D-Orbit PT, the Portuguese branch of D-Orbit. D-Orbit is a startup company that aims to solve space debris issues while promoting safe and sustainable access to space. The team in Portugal is focused on developing safety critical software and propulsion devices for Cubesats. D-Orbit is trying to bring an innovative approach to the space sector and all employees are encouraged to present and develop their own ideas. Mr. Lopes submitted a patent last year for a Cubesat Propulsion Device and D-Orbit PT is currently developing this new product. In his role as CTO, Mr. Lopes is responsible for defining the company’s strategy and coordinate the Portuguese technical team. Previously, he founded a company in the web-services field and worked as a Mechatronics Engineer at Vision-Box, where he was responsible for creating new products.
Chief Technology Officer, D-Orbit Portugal
Mr. Vlad Craioveanu is a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Impact Hub Bucharest and Impact Hub Cluj-Napoca, a startup dedicated to developing co-working environments where private companies and entrepreneurs can work in a shared space that promotes collaboration and simultaneously supports multiple organizations. As Managing Director, Mr. Craioveanu is responsible for business planning and strategy development; business development and management of sales; marketing; and external relations and representation. In addition to his work at Impact Hub Bucharest, Mr. Craioveanu worked as a Partner for Business Model Inc., a consulting agency that supports individuals and organizations in becoming more efficient and impactful with their business models. He is also committed to promoting social entrepreneurship and startups that seek to provide solutions to societal challenges. Mr. Craioveanu would like to learn how to acquire seed funding for early stage startups so that he may share this information with his local startup community.
Co-Founder, Impact Hub Bucharest
Partner, Ropot Boutique
Mr. Branimir Rakić is a Co-Founder and current Chief Technology Officer of Prospeh. Prospeh is a multinational startup based in Slovenia and Serbia developing software solutions for the agro-food industry. He is currently leading a team of software developers and designers based in Belgrade, focusing on two main projects: OriginTrail and Foodko. OriginTrail is a food traceability solution that provides shoppers with the ability to see the origin of all ingredients of their food products, while Foodko is the first online food store for traceable and local food with home delivery. Mr. Rakić recognizes the startup scene in Serbia is relatively new and desires to be a positive force inspiring others to be entrepreneurs. As a community activist Mr. Rakić strives to give back to his community. He plans to continue volunteering with student organizations and college lecturers, helping students to recognize the benefits of being an entrepreneur.
Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Prospeh
Ms. Petra Dzurovčinová is the Executive Manager of the Slovak Alliance for the Internet Economy. In this role, she is primarily responsible for executing the strategic vision of the organization; participating in day-to-day operations; and actively contributing to public policy relating to the internet and innovation economy on the national and regional level. The Slovak Alliance for the Internet Economy is an organization that strives to represent the needs of an evolving innovation ecosystem and increase regional cooperation and visibility of the Slovak tech scene. Ms. Dzurovčinová is dedicated to learning how to support and develop the Slovak innovative community and increase awareness for companies from the Central Europe. She is currently involved in a community action project aimed at helping young parents re-enter the workforce through providing a co-working space with resources to bring their children to work with them. Ms. Dzurovčinová hopes to set up sustainable business models that would add value to this project. She also works as the Event Manager for TEDxAdelaide and TEDxBratislava and is the Digital Communications Manager for the Royal Institution of Australia.
Dr. Gorazd Gotovac is the current Chief Technology Officer of Elaphe Propulsion Technologies Ltd. that specializes in development and production of electric in-wheel propulsion systems for electric vehicles. With a background in mathematical physics, electrical engineering, and experience in leadership in competitive sports, Dr. Gotovac has taken charge of organization and leadership of technical activities of Elaphe. He is also involved with shaping the business strategy and overall marketing and business development. Dr. Gotovac’s goal is to streamline the day-to-day operations of the growing company and learn strategies to efficiently manage the product development flow; promote innovation and employee motivation; and mentor new talent.
Chief Technology Officer, Elaphe Propulsion Technologies Ltd.
Mr. Iván Leis Varela is the Founder and Director of Carpe Diem Galicia, an event management company located in Galicia in northwestern Spain. Mr. Leis has dedicated much of his work to promoting his native region to the global community while creating volunteer and job opportunities for local young people interested in marketing, languages, local tourism, and the hospitality industry. The long-term vision for Carpe Diem Galicia is to continue their local and global outreach to boost the local economy and increase knowledge of Galician culture. In his role as Director, Mr. Leis is responsible for cultivating and maintaining strong partner-client relationships in support of business growth; contributing expertise to the management of festivals, events, and weddings; and mentoring teams of young people to encourage their professional aspirations. He is interested in expanding the volunteer program to other communities by partnering with local business to create a network of young people who are qualified for employment opportunities focused on the promotion of the region. Mr. Leis works with volunteers to help them gain experience in local tourism, languages, marketing, and customer service.
Founder and Director, Carpe Diem Galicia
Mr. Christian Hirsig is the Founder and CEO of Pacific Catch, an entrepreneurial startup located in Bern, Switzerland. Pacific Catch is an incubator for start-businesses and focuses on emerging technologies, financial technology, and the food and beverage industry. As Founder and CEO, Mr. Hirsig’s role is focused on business development, running marketing campaigns, and gathering market feedback. In addition to his work at Pacific Catch, he is also the current CEO of Atizo, a virtual brainstorming platform. Atizo is a strong crowdsourcing community, and has worked on over 350 successful projects. Mr. Hirsig is interested in developing a community in Switzerland where young entrepreneurs have an opportunity to collaborate and discuss ideas.
Ms. Müge Ulusoy is a Co-Founder of Ustamdan, an e-commerce website that connects the crafts of Anatolian artisans with prospective buyers. Ms. Ulusoy is primarily responsible for marketing, artisan and customer relationships, and functions as the content manager. Ustamdan received first place in the Social Enterprise category in the University Entrepreneurship and Innovation Competition, organized by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. She is a Fellow of the Turkey Entrepreneurship Foundation, and a 2015 Woman Entrepreneur Scholar of R-Scholars Program. Ms. Ulusoy works to provide artisans in Anatolia with a central networking tool. She is currently designing an app that will connect artisans in Anatolia so that they may share ideas and opportunities.
Mr. Denys Gurskyy is the Founder and current CEO of SocialBoost, a technological startup that promotes open data, and coordinates the activities of more than 1,000 IT-enthusiasts, IT-companies and government bodies in Ukraine through hackathons for socially meaningful IT-projects. As Founder and CEO, Mr. Gurskyy is responsible for enabling partnerships with other NGOs and community partners; of the management of the PR department; coordinating between related government entities; and development of strategies to involve civic activists in creating web-services based on open government data. Mr. Gurskyy looks forward to an opportunity to exchange ideas and re-think business strategies with his counterparts in the field. Upon his return to the Ukraine, he plans to create a Black Sea Open Data Platform for IT businesses and government organizations to share information and promote community-building.
Founder and CEO, SocialBoost
Open Data Advisor of Prime Minister, Government of Ukraine
Mr. Andriy Zinchenko is the current Manager of Energy Reform Sector at Reanimation Package of Reforms, and Head of Educational Projects at Greencubator, a non-profit organization focused on promoting renewable energy. Reanimation Package of Reforms is a civic platform which unites leading non-governmental organizations and experts and serves as a coordination center for the development and implementation of key reforms in Ukraine. At Reanimation Package of Reforms, his duties include facilitating the development of reform-minded changes to the Ukrainian government, and involving experts and sector non-profits in developing these policy decisions. As Head of Educational Projects, he is primarily responsible for developing new ideas for educational projects; promoting the organization and fundraising; and working with new partners. Mr. Zinchenko plans to organize several educational events dedicated to sharing his experiences, specifically about U.S. entrepreneurial culture, to help other Ukrainian energy innovation startup companies.
Manager of Energy Reform Sector, Reanimation Package of Reforms
Co-Founder and Head of Educational Projects, Greencubator
Coordinator, EnergyTorrent Project
Mr. Alex Hurst is the current Managing Director of Readypay Limited and Phoenix Taxis and Coaches. Phoenix Taxis is the largest green taxi firm in the United Kingdom, with 20 electric taxis, and 50 hybrid low-emission taxis. Mr. Hurst is responsible for the successful and continued running and growth of Readypay Limited, including managing a team of 60 individuals. In addition to his work with Readypay Limited, Mr. Hurst also works as the Director of What a Hood Day Nursery – the first full-day care provider in Blyth offering full wraparound care, including: breakfast club; full and part-time sessions; and after school facilities. Mr. Hurst’s community action plan revolves around the idea that every business can achieve results regardless of their size. He hopes that through awareness-raising and training he can ensure that businesses in the North East of England reach success and can access and operate on larger scales.
Country: United Kingdom
Managing Director, Readypay Limited and Phoenix Taxis & Coaches
Director, What a Hoot Day Nursery, Ltd.
Mr. Milot Shala is a Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Rolling Rabbits, a technological startup that specializes in mobile and web application design, software development, and brand identity. As Co-Founder and CTO, Mr. Shala manages a team of software engineers and researches and develops new algorithms and software products. He has extensive experience in the technological industry, and worked as a software engineer for Nokia and several other technology firms. Working in the technology sector, Mr. Shala is always trying to cater to youth and helps individuals and start-ups realize the benefits of entrepreneurship, especially ventures focused on technology.
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Rolling Rabbits
Senior Software Engineer, Konduko S.A.
YTILI in the News
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
We collect no personally identifiable information (PII) about you when you visit our site unless you choose to provide this information to us. Submitting personally identifiable information through our website is voluntary, but by doing so, you are giving your permission to use the information for the stated purpose. Not providing certain information may result in our inability to provide you with a service you desire. If you choose to provide us with PII on a Department website, through such methods as completing a web form or sending us an e-mail, we will use that information to help us provide you the information or service you have requested or to respond to your message. The information we may receive from you varies based on what you do when visiting our site.
We do automatically collect and store the name of the domain from which you access the Internet (.com, .edu, etc.); the date and time you access our site; and the Internet address of the website (such as a search engine or referring page) from which you reached our site. We use the information we collect to count the number of visitors to the different pages on our site, and to help us make our site more useful to visitors like you.
In addition, we use Google Analytics to provide us with demographic information that is not personally identifiable. This information may include, among other things, gender, age, and interests.
We use this information in a variety of ways. For example, we may use this information to help analyze our site traffic, understand our visitors and what they care about, and to improve our services. We use these data only in the aggregate form as provided directly from Google Analytics. We will retain this information for as long as we have this site. We will not disclose this information to any other third party.
If you send us email
You may choose to provide us with personal information, as in e-mail with a comment or question. We use the information to improve our service to you or to respond to your request. Sometimes we forward your e-mail to other U.S. government agencies that may be better able to help you. Except for authorized law enforcement investigations, we do not share your e-mail with any other outside organizations.
Third-party websites and applications
We link to social networking and other kinds of third-party websites. We use social networking websites to interact with the foreign audiences and to engage in public diplomacy worldwide. Social networking websites are used to publicize embassy events, and engage with members of the public. We also use web measurement and customization technologies to measure the number of visitors to our websites and their various sections and to help make our websites more useful to visitors. In some cases, the third-party application may request an e-mail address, username, password, and geographic location for account registration purposes. We do not use third-party websites to solicit and collect PII from individuals. We do not collect or store any PII collected by any third-party website, and no PII will be disclosed, sold or transferred to any other entity outside the Department of State, unless required for law enforcement purposes or by statute.
We may use various types of online surveys to collect opinions and feedback from a random sample of visitors. Primarily, the State Department uses the ForeSee Results American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) online survey on an ongoing basis to obtain feedback and data on visitor satisfaction with our websites. This survey does not collect PII. Although the survey invitation pops up for a random sample of visitors, it is optional, and not all embassy websites carry the survey. If you decline the survey, you will still have access to the identical information and resources at our site as those who do take the survey. The survey reports are available only to web managers and other designated staff who require this information to perform their duties. We may use other limited-time surveys for specific purposes, which are explained at the time they are posted.
Information collected for tracking and customization (cookies)
A cookie is a small text file that a website transfers to your computer to allow it to remember specific information about your session while you are connected. Your computer will only share the information in the cookie with the website that provided it, and no other website can request it. There are two types of cookies:
Session: Session cookies last only as long as your web browser is open. Once you close your browser, the cookie is deleted. Websites may use session cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through the site, or to allow you to customize your preferences for interacting with the site.
Persistent: Persistent cookies are saved on a user’s hard drive in order to determine which users are new to the site or are returning, and for repeat visitors, to block recurring invitations to take the ForeSee satisfaction survey.
If you do not wish to have session or persistent cookies stored on your machine, you can turn cookies off in your browser. You will still have access to all information and resources on our website. However, turning off cookies may affect the functioning of some websites. Be aware that disabling cookies in your browser will affect cookie usage at all other websites you visit as well.
Links to external websites
Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information. However, we cannot guarantee that there will be no errors. With respect to documents and information on this website, neither the State Department nor its employees or contractors make any warranty, expressed or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose with respect to documents available from this website. Additionally, the State Department assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, product, or process disclosed herein and does not represent that use of such information, product, or process would not infringe on privately owned rights.
For site security purposes and to ensure that this service remains available to all users, the State Department uses software programs to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information or otherwise cause damage. Unauthorized attempts to upload information or change information on this service are strictly prohibited and may be punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. Information also may be used for authorized law enforcement investigations. Except for the above purposes, no other attempts are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Unauthorized attempts to upload information and/or change information on these web sites are strictly prohibited and are subject to prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and Title 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1001 and 1030.