The Department of State’s Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) develops and cultivates relationships among emerging European and American leaders. YTILI is an investment in the transatlantic partnership to strengthen prosperity and enhanced security on both sides of the Atlantic.

European participants come from all across the continent. In 2017, 116 young entrepreneurs will participate in this two-way exchange led by Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and implemented by The German Marshall Fund.

Meet The 2017 Fellows (June)

AUSTIN, TX

Zoran Nasteski
Zoran Nasteski

Country: Macedonia
Company: Inception Enterprises
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/zokifu
Twitter: @ZokiFu

Zoran graduated from Film University with a degree in film editing, production and marketing and over the last ten years he acquired extensive experience in digital production, management and talent acquisition. His international work experience includes United States, Canada, Australia and Germany where he worked on digital projects as Executive Producer. In 2014 he co-founded InnerMotion Studios, audiovisual production company in Sydney, Australia. As an entrepreneur, Zoran has executed over thirty high-end production digital projects, from branding to software, web and audiovisual projects. In addition to business and digital production, he has been involved in the charity and not-for-profit sector as Founder and President of “Youth for Love”, an organization that has developed and realized over fifty youth and humanitarian projects in the area of health and poverty. Currently, Mr. Nasteski is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Inception Enterprises, where his work is focused on talent management, international partnerships and digital innovation, in order to help young professionals achieve their highest potential.

Maria del Rocio Bueno Corral
Maria del Rocio Bueno Corral

Country: Spain
Company: Easy Stay
Twitter: @rbuenocorral / @easystaytech

Ms. Rocío Bueno is the Founder and CEO of Easy Stay, a start-up that provides technological solutions for enhancing guest experience while traveling. As CEO, Ms. Bueno’s duties include strategy planning, team management, marketing and internationalization. She has an extensive expertise in economics and business administration and worked as International Trade Advisor at the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce. She strives to expand its network and build business relationships with international clients.

She is also alumni at Plug & Play Accelerator and IMPACT Accelerator. She plans to continue collaborating with universities and accelerators, helping entrepreneurs building successful businesses.

Arturs Burnins
Arturs Burnins

Country: Latavia
Company: Qfer.me
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/aburnins

Arturs Burnins is CEO and Co-Founder of Qfer – mobile marketing platform for restaurants and fast-food chains (www.qfer.me). During last 18 months company attracted more than 300 merchants. Working with brands like Subway, KFC, Hesburger, Pizza Hut, Circle K and others. As a result Qfer is among TOP 10 most popular apps on the AppStore and GooglePlay in Latvia. Currently team is expanding their presence in other European countries. Arturs is also a Board member of Latvian Startup association (Startin). It is a non-profit organization with the aim to promote Latvian startup scene and represent its interests. Some of the project Startin is working on: Latvian Startup Law, Latvian Startup List, StartinLatvia Welcome Pack and much more to come.

Nilufar Masimova
Nilufar Masimova

Country: Azerbaijan
Company: PDP ( Personnel Development Platform)

Ms. Nilufar Masimova is a co-founder and CEO of PDP located in Baku Azerbaijan. PDP is a Personnel Development Platform dedicated to achieve excellence at workplaces by the help of effective human resources management practices. The main products of the venture are building HR literature in native language based on cultural background of the region and country, providing trainings, coaching and consultation in HRM field, organizing networking events to bring both HR scholars, professionals and leaders together for further discussions on the opportunities for the development and creation of the value added HRM. Founded in 2015 PDP organized different HRM trainings and Human Resources Forum in Baku. As a co-founder and CEO her role is to raise funds, build partnerships and engage clients and customers. She has extensive knowledge and expertise in HRM, as she holds an MSc in HRM and has a work experience as a human resources professional and lecturer. Ms. Masimova hopes to develop a plan for expanding her venture to play a role of regional knowledge, certification and networking body. She believes in the power of effective people management and its positive influence on business and society.

BOSTON, MA

Christina Athanasopoulou
Christina Athanasopoulou

Country: Finland
Company:‘Health for All: Science at its Simplest’
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/chatha
Twitter: @tina_turku

Hi! I am Christina Athanasopoulou, also known as “Tina Turku”, a researcher, an educator and an occupational therapist by profession, and an artist at heart. I live between Finland and Greece, and currently I am planning my post doc research and developing my business plan. After two years working as a college lecturer and occupational therapist in Athens, Greece, I decided to go back to Turku, Finland, the place where I got my master’s degree in Education, and this time pursue a PhD in Health Sciences. My PhD was about eHealth and mental illness, which combined two of my passions; mental health and technology. Although the PhD “journey” was demanding and challenging at times, it was interesting and rewarding as well. I was able to ensure funding for my 6-year project, publish 7 peer-reviewed scientific articles, make 17 presentations in international and national conferences, teach university students on- and offline, participate in 2 competitions, and win 2 awards. My artistic side is expressed mostly through photographs and videos. I like to share my experience of living in Finland, via my YouTube, Instagram and Facebook accounts (as “Tina Turku”). Lately, I created my own website “tinaturku.com” in order to communicate not only my academic projects, but also share my ideas, life experiences and mission. My mission is to promote peoples’ mental health and wellbeing, fight against mental illness stigma, and empower people to follow their dreams. I love people. It gives me purpose to know I can contribute positively to someone’s life. During the last years, I have been involved in various entrepreneurship events and communities because I wanted to explore how to support people’s mental health and wellbeing, not only through academic activities but also in the society.

George Jibladze
George Jibladze

Country: Georgia
Company: Educare Georgia
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/george-jibladze-23923b17
Twitter: @gjibla

Since 2014 a co-founder of an educational organization Educare Georgia, a nonprofit on a mission to bring access to world class education through the internet and technologies, for the children of Georgia. Co-Founder of the project giveinternet.org – Online funding platform, where donors donate second-hand computers and fund monthly internet bills for extremely poor children in a convenient and easy way. 10 Years of experience in a telecom sector of Georgia. Served as the Director of Product Marketing and Product Development in the leading telecom operator of Georgia- Silknet.com In 2010 co-founded one of the leading e-commerce website in Georgia – swoop.ge.

Anna Toth
Anna Toth

Country: Hungary
Company: 6:20ChiliNights
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/tothanna90
Twitter: @AnnaToth90

Anna Toth is a startup marketer with a dream – let’s create an entrepreneurial community in Hungary to raise living standards and improve security. Anna has been always looking for ways to improve herself and her community. She gained practical marketing experience as a Recruiting and Marketing Assistant at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and as a Brand Management Trainee at Procter and Gamble (P&G). After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Business Management, and a Master’s Degree in Marketing, Anna was awarded with the Hungarian-American Enterprise Scholarship Fund’s (HAESF) scholarship, and she was an intern at The Creative Coast startup hub in Savannah, GA in the USA. After returning to Hungary, she has co-founded an event series called 620ChiliNights to support entrepreneurs by creating new connections and solving business challenges real-time.

Rebecca Weicht
Rebecca Weicht

Country: Belgium
Company: Bantani Education
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/rebeccaweicht
Twitter: @rebweicht

Rebecca Weicht is Co-Founder and Head of Operations at Bantani Education asbl, a non-profit in Belgium working collaboratively to drive entrepreneurial and creative learning. Rebecca is a trained communicator and project manager with extensive expertise in developing communication and dissemination strategies. Formerly a journalist, she worked in capacity building in the sustainability field with business leaders in Europe and Asia to improve working conditions in global supply chain. Rebecca is also a World Economic Forum Global Shaper with the Brussels hub and part of the Executive Committee of Professional Women International Brussels.

Shalva Shalashvili
Shalva Shalashvili

Country: Georgia
Company: Education, Science and Technological Development TS Foundation for Tomorrow’s Success
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shalva.shalashvili

Chief Business Development Officer, TS Foundation. Having more than 3 years working experience in venture capital and equity investment companies on analysis, evaluation and business development positions. Graduate of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid with the Master in Business and Quantitative Methods. Currently overseeing business growth processes at TS Foundation and seeking for potential business prospects for project companies in the fields like: aviation, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Moreover, I build relationships in industry, by identifying opportunities and completing business deals. Further tasks include managing activities like: measuring the progress and performance of underlying investment and ensuring the transparency & accountability of social and environmental impact.

CHARLOTTE, NC

Irena Chaushevska
Irena Chaushevska

Country: Macedonia
Company: NewMan’s Academy and Accelerator
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/irenachaushevska

15+ years of experience in strategic, managerial and leadership positions in IT, telecommunication, international recruitment, education and entrepreneurship; Experience in finance, investments, aerospace, marketing and investment law; Founder and CEO of the first and only fully independent and private Accelerator in Macedonia – NewMan’s Business Accelerator (newmansba.com); Winner of full Google scholarship for attending Global Solutions Program by Singularity University 2016 at NASA Ames Research Park in California. Speaker at Stanford Design School on “How to build aerospace startup” and at Stanford Engineering School on “European Innovation and Entrepreneurship” Strong relations with companies, individual investors, venture funds, accelerators, entrepreneurs, startups from Europe, USA (California), Latin America and Asia (China, India, Singapore, Vietnam); Lead of the biggest hackathon in the world NASA Space Apps Challenge (the NASA Incubator Innovation Program) for Silicon Valley, New York and Skopje and coordinator of the event in many European countries; 6+ years experience in development of curricula and deployment of educational projects and programs for digital and future skills including IT, high-tech, exponential tech, innovation and entrepreneurship for the Macedonian youth and corporates; Speaker, panelist, mentor and judge on various innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership events, conferences and programs in Europe and US; Cofounder of US based startup – Applied Robotix that works on development of a brain for autonomous (space) vehicles; US patent holder for innovative body-fit modular space suit “SpaceAuroras”; Strongly motivated to help Macedonia and the region to transform their societies from within and create modern and functional economies; Strong interest in talent and potential management; wealth creation and various investment and income streams models for corporates, startups and individuals. Global Winner for Big Data Innovation at NASA Space Apps Challenge 2015 Selected as Women Entrepreneurial Leader (ICSB-WEL) for 2014 by the International Council for Small Businesses with HQ in Washington.

Elena Andreea Gabor
Elena Andreea Gabor

Country: Romania
Company: UP – The Business Accelerator
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andreeagabor
Facebook: @upthebusinessaccelerator

Senior marketing professional with over 10 years experience in strategic and innovative retail marketing projects (fashion and banking). – Best Marketing Director awarded by BIZ Magazine in the „Top 100 Marketing Directors from Romania” (2015 edition); the top selects the marketing directors from the local market analizing their professional experience, the brands and company they are working with, total turnover and the total marketing budget. – Awarded in the annual international Citi Marketing 2011 competition with “Romania Perceptual Scale” project. In the contest all the marketing strategies and campaigns from 160 countries are evaluated and ranked by effectiveness and originality. If you have a great product and a great company, and now you need to shout from the rooftops then I am the right person to help you grow your business! There’s a million opportunities in marketing, and the challenge for me is to choose the right rooftops to shout from, and make sure we’re all shouting the same thing at the same time.

Khachik Gevorgyan
Khachik Gevorgyan

Country: Armenia
Company: ARMACAD
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/khachikgevorgyan
Twitter: @khGev

Khachik Gevorgyan is the founder and CEO of ARMACAD, a company which develops tools to help people to find scholarships, research and study opportunities. He leads ARMACAD to its next level as a service provider for universities and research centres to distribute their academic opportunities internationally to a targeted readership. Previously Khachik has successfully led Yevista – Armenian version Yelp. Khachik is also one of the founders of the U.S. Alumni Association of Armenia and has served as its first Executive Director. He has a solid academic background in Middle Eastern Studies, with a PhD from Yerevan State University and research positions at Harvard and Stanford Universities. While representing ARMACAD he was the winner of HyeTech and HiveFund pitch competition at Berkeley University in April 2016.

Bardh Kadiu
Bardh Kadiu

Country: Kosovo
Company: Tech: Park Prishtina
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/bkadiu
Twitter: @BKadiu

A dedicated and enthusiastic manager with a technological background, who is able to motivate teams to perform at their highest-levels, in providing excellent service and developing profitable client relationships. Specialized in service-exports and international business development, hence experienced in working with diverse environments and cultures. Currently, serving as a Deputy Executive Director at STIKK, Conference Director at KosICT.com and leading the development of the Tech:Park Prishtina, a high-quality support institution towards entrepreneurs by enabling conversion of new business ideas into successful and competitive entrepreneurship in international markets and by providing infrastructure, professional services and adequate promotion towards established businesses.

Vasiliki Ntampasi
Vasiliki Ntampasi

Country: Greece
Company: Tesibit
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/vntampasi
Twitter: @tesibit
Facebook: @vasia.ntampasi

Vasiliki Ntampasi, Co-founder & CEO of Tesibit: Vasiliki has over 7 years of experience in Advanced Automation Control, Optimization Techniques, and Neural Networks. In November 2011 she received her Engineering Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Democritus University of Thrace in Greece, and her MSc Degree in Automation Control from the same department. Ηer research focus lies in automation, control, model predictive and robust predictive control techniques, bioprocess control, and swarm formation of UAVs, with an emphasis on the renewables energy industry.

Javier Villaseca
Javier Villaseca

Country: Spain
Company: SociosInversores
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/javiervillasecasanchez
Twitter: @JavierVillaseca

Andreas is a Research Scientist and holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry (2015) from the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) that he completed under a Marie Curie Early Stage Fellowship. He has cofounded AgriVeritas at 2015 with the motivation to turn his scientific expertise into innovation that will be inextricably linked with the green economy of the future.

Vojtech Rinik
Vojtech Rinik

Country: Slovakia
Company: Median.tech
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/vojto
Twitter: @_vojto

I graduated from Technical University of Kosice in Computer Science. During university, I interned every summer in a different US-based company, most recently Twitter. After graduating I worked for New York based finance startup where I helped build their main product. I always had a weekend project – during school I started building productivity software, and that became my full-time job in early 2016. Later in that year I started Median.tech, to build data analytics software for Mac, which is what I’m working now in present.

Szelim Simandi
Szelim Simandi

Country: Hungary
Company: X Communications Centre
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/simandiszelim

Szelim Simándi, 28 currently works with X Communications Center, a Budapest based strategic communications agency with a focus on social causes. Since its founding in 2012, XKK has contributed to the solution of numerous social causes with its own campaigns and by supporting representatives of civil society. The team also worked with several satisfied corporate clients. In a consultant role Mr. Simándi is responsible for planning and execution of PR, social media, advocacy and fundraising campaigns of NGOs and social enterprises. Previously he gained experience in a London based advocacy firm and the European Parliament and also worked on the advocacy strategy of Hungarian industrial parks. Mr. Simándi is a member of the Financial and Audit Committee of the Municipality of Budaörs since 2010. He gained experience in regulatory processes of the local economy, planning and auditing of the budget of the Municipality, and understanding and implementing the long term economic strategy of one of the most successful municipalities in Hungary.

DENVER, CO

Gergana Daneva
Gergana Daneva

Country: Bulgaria
Company: Lion heart
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/gergana-daneva-b6628041
Facebook: @gergana.daneva.10

Gergana Daneva is a Science culture graduate, who loves humanitarian disciplines. She obtained her master degree in Public management towards the EU institutions, from the University of Management in Liege, Belgium (HEC). She has been working as a freelancer on projects linked with culture and sports. For a certain time she has been part of the EU Commission, where she was evaluating projects in the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

Kirill Konev
Kirill Konev

Country: Russia
Company:Selectium Research Center LLC
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kirill-konev-b110b360

Kirill graduated from National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow as a Master of Business Informatics. His career began as an IT-engineer in the nuclear industry. Kirill was the one to bring the best practices of the Cost Engineering technologies to Russian nuclear industry, as a team member of a major project of creating a generic design of a new nuclear power plant as a member of the cost management team. Later on, being a chief IT-architect in the nuclear design start-up company, Kirill managed to integrate the practices of CAD and cost engineering technologies to tailor the industry-first BIM solution in the nuclear sphere. Working as a head of the cost engineering department, he adapted the cost engineering practices, process models and software for the proper use on the industry-wide basis, which were later used for the cost management of the several nuclear power plants construction projects. In 2016, Kirill founded a company, which combines innovation, technological and the cost engineering expertise to implement a totally new approach to the innovation in the nuclear industry, aiming to increase the competitiveness of the Russian technology products on a worldwide market.

Kostapanos Miliaressis
Kostapanos Miliaressis

Country: Greece
Company: Ethelon
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kostapanosm
Twitter: @kostapanosM

Kostapanos Miliaressis is a young professional who is characterised by his passion for volunteering, events & projects and entrepreneurship. He is enthusiastic and multipotentialite, addicted to innovative ideas and traveling with a backpack on his shoulders. Having grown and matured by AIESEC and TEDx Events along with his degree in Business Administration from AUEB, Kostapanos aims to utilize his creativity and perseverance in order to change the world for the better. He is currently General Manager and Co-founder of ethelon an organization promoting volunteering in the Greek society and creating the adequate framework for cooperation between volunteers, NGOs and companies, aiming for a more active and equal society. Through his work in ethelon, he has received international recognition from the Ashoka Foundation as a Global Changemaker and recognised in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, in the category of Social Entrepreneurs.

Ana Marija Popovic
Ana Marija Popovic

Country: Serbia
Company: Ino Agency
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ana-marija-popovic
Twitter: @AnaMarijaPop

Founder and director of INO Agency, Balkan regional education agency which works as an agent for 200 universities and language schools from 30 countries, and runs 4 websites on education and mobility. Graduated in Sorbonne Paris 1 (France) with scholarship of European Union and Republic of Serbia. Based in Belgrade.

Flutura Sadiku
Flutura Sadiku

Country: Kosovo
Company: Love & Crafts
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/fluturasadiku
Twitter: @FluturaSadiku
Facebook: FluturaSadiku

Ms. Flutura Sadiku is the co-founder of Love & Crafts, a small startup that helps families, groups or individuals from different communities through creating, recycling and selling handmade products. Her daily job as Network Engineer in the largest internet service provider in Kosovo does not stop her from being involved in personal projects. She studied Computer Science and Engineering, and is very passionate about science, technology, and books. In the last couple of years she has been working with several local and international organizations, and since last year, she is a member of Youth Council of the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo. Last year, Flutura and her partner built their first remotely controlled airplane, TARDIS, which inspired her start “Build and Fly” project within the Youth Council.

Franziska von Kempis
Franziska von Kempis

Country: Germany
Company: MESH Collective
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/franzivonkempis

A trained TV journalist with a history degree who developed into a self-taught YouTube editor: That’s me, Franzi von Kempis, born in 1985. My professional highlights include multiple online shitstorms and working in a job, that did not yet exist when I finished university in 2010. Which is why I had to find my journalistic roots elsewhere, in my case at Radio Vatican and Sueddeutsche Online. Whereas the Vatican provided me with the inspiration for a minor in theology at university, my time at the SZ Online newsdesk helped me discover a passion for everything online. I was lucky enough to receive a spot as an editorial trainee at the german TV show Galileo (ProSieben) in Munich, where I majored from “ total TV Noob with a bit of online experience” (which led me to produce nothing but Facebook content and online christmas pieces for the first six months) to actual TV reporting. Back in Germany I turned my back on TV in 2013 to join a media initiative co-founded by the Robert Bosch foundation and German TV and movie producer UFA in Berlin, called MESH Collective. MESH produces social media campaigns on political and societal topics targeted at teenagers and young adults. We connect young viewers, like-minded peers and educational institutions. As Editor-in-Chief, it is my job to create campaigns that enable young adults to think for themselves. Building on these experiences, in 2015, I launched “The worried citizen”, a web-video series on Facebook addressing topics such as populism, conspiracy theories as well as social media phenomenons such as hate speech.

DETROIT, MI

Egor Fedorov
Egor Fedorov

Country: Russia
Company: Indriver LLC
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/egor-fedorov-33a97822
Twitter: @yegorf
Facebook: @egorfedorov

Begin as a journalist when our news website Kursor.Ru was acquired by larger IT-holding Sinet group. Year after I became a project manager, started work with all new company projects. In 2011-2012 was engaged in the development of the portal Ykt.Ru network in the Russian Federation, in 2011 created and headed the product development division, which was transformed into the development department of the Sinet group, including the product and marketing management. In 2013 became the Chief Development Officer. By this time Ykt.Ru became the leading regional portal in the Russian Federation in terms of the ratio of attendance to the population. Since 2015 has concentrated on the development of inDriver as a CDO & CMO.

Katarzyna Kolodziejczyk
Katarzyna Kolodziejczyk

Country: Luxembourg
Company: BRAVE YOUTH
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/kasiakolo
Twitter: @kaskolo

Katarzyna Kolodziejczyk co-founder of #BRAVEYOUTH Luxembourg – whiropool of visionary vibes, network of brave talents who connects disconnected with meaningful campaigns. As a student of Business English in Poland, she took part in student exchange program and went to US during summer time ” It was my first experience abroad that made a vast positive impact for the rest of my life”. She also lived in Slovakia and Austria working for a logistic corporation and since 2011 she has lived in multinational and multicultural Luxembourg which she considers her home. In 2013 she ” just did it ” changed her life and moved from corporate workplace to entrepreneurial adventure. Since mid-2013 her life has been filled with lots of market & technology experiments and exciting tasks building tech startup, founding innovative organisations, communities and conferences to keep meeting and connecting courageous and inspiring people from all over the world who make things happen!

Branko Vasiljevic
Branko Vasiljevic

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Company: DVC Solutions
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/branko-vasiljevic-ab512696
Twitter: @DVCsolutions

I find myself as a hardworking and very innovative person, ambitious and always in the good mood. My academic titles are Bachelor of Economics (Management and Entrepreneurship) and also Bachelor of IT (Business IT), and I am currently enrolled in master studies at Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka. My carrer started in an international retail company where I worked as an IT referent, than as a Chief of IT sector and at the end as Chief Accountant, after which I changed my working environment and the entire sector to IT. I am working in IT for several years now, where I was CEO of one small company from Banja Luka and now I am business developer at DVC Solutions, international IT company from Banja Luka also. I found it very interesting doing busines in IT sector, ie. in this sector I see my future, since it is very dynamic, proactive, live. Won many prizes for entrepreneurship ideas and innovation on regional and national level which I am proud of. Active basketball player since 2014, played for Bosnian U19 national team in 2009. Speaking English on professional level and German on basic level.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Lucia Gallíková
Lucia Gallíková

Country: Slovakia
Company: Chargebrella
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/luciagallikova
Twitter: @Chargebrella
Facebook: @lucia.gallikova

I have been consulting and managing projects in non-profit, public and private – startup sector since 2007 having experience from working in three Central European countries – Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria. I focus on project development, management and communication. Currently I am working at the Startup centre of Technical university in Kosice where I am responsible for development and coordination of acceleration programme for startups and organisation of a startup competition. At the same time I am a member of startup Chargebrella which I joined in 2015 as a project and communication manager. Last year I was responsible for carrying out an award winning application for Business Idea 2016 competition run by Tatra banka Foundation in Slovakia. My previous experience includes working as project coordinator and manager in several organisations across Central Europe. Projects which I was responsible for included management of a national NGO Fair in Prague, development of international activities for youth leaders from 25+ countries, preparation of methodology for 6 series of educational programme which was implemented on national level and many others. From 2010 to 2015 I was running a non-profit organization called NO LABEL PROJECT which I also co-founded. I was in charge of managing all its activities – mainly developing international educational projects for non-profit professionals, youth workers and young people active as volunteers. In 2015 I succesfully passed exams at the National Institute of Lifelong Learning and I have become a certified Adult Learning Manager. Besides my full-time job and my work in Chargebrella I am also active as a pro-bono consultant for non-profits based in Slovakia.

Gediminas Mazrimas
Gediminas Mazrimas

Country: Lithuania
Company: COMOBA
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/gediminasm
Facebook: @gediminas.m

Working in a fast changing new product development environment mostly in the mobile ecosystem. Currently fully involved in developing COMOBA startup and been involved in a number of other startups as a technical advisor for Nextury Ventures VC fund. Yet currently still remain responsible for GetJar app store – the worlds first and biggest open appstore, where I have been managing daily routines and developing and researching new mobile business models for the past 4 years. Previously gathered experience in a number of companies and countries: product development companies in Vilnius (Lithuania) and Copenhagen (Denmark), scientific research center CERN in Geneva (Switzerland) and Barclays Bank in London (UK).

Dmytro Podoliev
Dmytro Podoliev

Country: Ukraine
Company: iHUB
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andreas-rabenseifner
Twitter: @podoliev

Mr. Podoliev is founder and CEO of iHUB – the first and only not-for-profit network of centres for innovation and entrepreneurship in Eastern Europe. iHUBs provide education, training, mentorship support, and aid in raising investments as well as high-quality infrastructure to innovative and technology based SMEs. We are developing an ecosystem of innovative startups, raising the quality of skills of young entrepreneurs in order to strengthen the social and economic potential of Ukraine. Over the past 2 years we have supported over 300 SMEs, 500+ entrepreneurs, trained over 10,000 persons across 6 iHUB centers. We strongly believe that via the development of the SME sector we will be able to build a strong and diversified economy, which will form as a sound foundation for an efficient and sustainable democracy in Ukraine in the long-run, and EU (both public and private partners) will play a crucial role along each step of this way.

Luis Alonso Silva Marquez
Luis Alonso Silva Marquez

Country: Cyprus
Company: Twosumm
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/louis-alonso-silva-marquez-33166474
Twitter: @TwosummOfficial
Facebook: @twosumm

Completing a B.Sc. in Finance from the University of Cyprus. Since the beginning of my studies I have worked in multiple companies and roles such as waiter, account’s assistant and sales account manager. In 2014 attended the Erasmus program and lived one year in Barcelona. While in Barcelona, worked for a Berlin-based startup called Roundhere as a Team Leader ambassador with multiple responsibilities. After that experience, my enthusiasm for entrepreneurship grew even bigger and that was the time when decided to found Twosumm. Twosumm was founded by me and my two co-Founders in August 2015. Since then, we attended together and completed the Founder Institute Cyprus Chapter, won 2 national startup competitions, signed an MOU with the University of Cyprus and Louis became the first active student of the university to sign an MOU between the university and his company. Later on, in September 2016 we were invited by the most important startup incubator in Cyprus, IDEA (Founded by the Bank of Cyprus), to join the program, and by October 2016 we launched Twosumm after 3 months of development and acquired over 1000 users with no funds within 2 months.

SEATTLE, WA

Andreas Hadjisofocleous
Andreas Hadjisofocleous

Country: Cyprus
Company: HJS Insurance
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andreashadjisofocleous
Twitter: @andreasHjs

Andreas Hadjisofocleous is the Director of HJS Insurance, an Independent Insurance Agency and Consultancy in Cyprus offering a full line of insurance products. Andreas has an entrepreneurial spirit having built 3 startups to date, including a Crowdfunding Platform and an Online Food Ordering Platform. He has pitched in several startup competitions including Startup Weekend, Digital Champion and has received 5 awards for his entrepreneurial activities. Andreas is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community and a co-founder of the Global Shapers Community Nicosia, a community of young people who undertake projects to improve the state of their community. He also has served as the President of Toastmasters Nicosia Club, a Public Speaking and Leadership Club which is part of the global network of Toastmasters International. Moreover, Andreas served as a coordinator of the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program, an informal course in the arts of Public Speaking and leadership, at schools in Nicosia and has been nominated as a co-organizer of the Startup Europe Week Nicosia 2016-17. Andreas regularly speaks about Entrepreneurship and Leadership at conferences and events including Startup Europe Week, Shape Europe Conference, Rotary RYLA Trainings and Toastmasters Leadership Institute.

Berend Jan Kleute
Berend Jan Kleute

Country: Netherlands
Company: Bluerise
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/berendjankleute
Twitter: @BerendJanKleute

Berend Jan Kleute is CTO and co-founder of Bluerise, a technology provider and project developer in the Ocean Thermal Energy market. He holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and MSc in Offshore Engineering from the Delft University of Technology. Through his involvement in various international offshore renewable energy projects, in collaboration with industry, he found his passion and works hard to accelerate the implementation. At Bluerise he led the development of a room size advanced Ocean Thermal Energy power plant, built in cooperation with the TU Delft. Currently he is working on scaling the technology to projects in the Caribbean and in Southeast Asia. Parallel to his work at Bluerise, Berend Jan helps lead the Ocean Energy Platform at Delft University of Technology.

Johnathan Koppert
Johnathan Koppert

Country: Netherlands
Company: Bestico B. V.
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jonathan-koppert-90630a18
Twitter: @jkoppert

Contributing to a more sustainable food chain. Jonathan Koppert is a co-founder of Bestico BV, a firm devoted to transforming excess biomass into valuable feed ingredients by using insects. Addressing two important issues facing the World today; shortage of protein and excess waste generation. Before devoting his work fulltime to Bestico, Jonathan worked as project manager for Koppert Biological Systems. Koppert is a family owned company serving growers and farmers world-wide in their need for biological products to control pests and promote plant health. Despite his shift to Bestico Jonathan still advocates his life’s mission of ‘Eliminating Harmful Chemicals in Agriculture’. In addition to his work at Bestico Jonathan functions as secretary for the national association of insect producers in The Netherlands (Venik). He also is an Executive Committee Member of the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) which functions as the voice of the insect sector towards the European Union. Jonathan studied to be a lawyer and graduated for his master in Corporate Law at the University of Utrecht. But after two years in the office he swiftly decided the specialist career was not suited for him. To further complement his skillset Jonathan enrolled in 2016 for the Executive MBA program of RSM, Rotterdam School of Management.

Benjamin Lillandt
Benjamin Lillandt

Country: Sweden
Company: Devkittens AB
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/benjamin-lillandt-4b76b535
Twitter: @benjaminlilland

Benjamin Lillandt is a social eco-entrepreneur & interaction designer. CEO of Devkittens & co-founder of the ZeroAtlas initiative. Benjamin’s vision is to gamify real needs the world has and influence people to become more environmentally friendly. Climate change is a global challenge, but we can still fight it locally by making clean and renewable choices, learning about waste management, as well as showing others where to find them. The trend is that global CO2 emissions and mean temperatures continue to rise, and that EU emission cuts alone cannot stop climate change, but if it can serve as a role model to other regions and show that a low-carbon economy is feasible, then the 2020 plan has partially achieved success. You can picture ZeroAtlas like a 2020 plan, but instead of creating a sustainable growth strategy, ZeroAtlas intends to be a role model to give discoverability to these innovations and make those businesses in the low-carbon sector more competitive on the web. If we can get people to use these solutions regularly and make them understand the impact they have on the environment, then ZeroAtlas can help the EU reach the 2020 goals and beyond. As the green economy model continues to grow in the EU and the US, there will be a need to show them all in one place and that is where ZeroAtlas steps in. Today there is simply not a green discovery service that is trustworthy, fun or easy to use. That’s why I am building ZeroAtlas, because I believe everyone should be able to become a climate-smart citizen.

Tivadar Limbachet
Tivadar Limbachet

Country: Hungary
Company: Ma este Szinhaz!
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andreas-rabenseifner
Twitter: @tivadar83

I started my first business at the age of 16: during summer school break at early dawn I went to the flower market, bought 50 decorative houseplants, learned all their names, put them in a banana box and hit the office buildings in Budapest to sell them at 200% margin. Fast forward two university degrees as I started working with the European Commission as an Internal Communication Specialist. I learned a lot during my time in Brussels, but soon I felt I could do much more good than just be part of an international hierarchy. The compensation was tempting, but I returned to Budapest where I launched three startups. The first one was supposed to be an online marketplace for outsourced graphic design and photo retouching jobs – it failed miserably. My second attempt was to create an eyetracking research lab in Hungary for usability and marketing projects – it was alright as it broke even. My next bootstrapped startup was called “Ma este Szinhaz!” which means “Theatre Tonight!” in English. We sell last minute theatre tickets online at half price at www.maesteszinhaz.hu as we provide high-quality and affordable cultural entertainment for our 100 000 daily users in Hungary. It became successful not only commercially but won several professional awards and gained lot of popularity too. Through my whole career my motivation was to make my own innovative ideas reality and to offer a unique service and bring value to people.

Olly Paulovich
Olly Paulovich

Country: United Kingdom
Company: Snapify Ltd. (Snaptivity)
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/ollypaulovich
Twitter: @sunpavlyk

Highly motivated and passionate entrepreneur with diploma with honours in Marketing in E-commerce from Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics. Main focus is on the digital marketing, psychology/ sociology, marketing strategy, emotional marketing and sports. Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Snaptivity – innovative smart-stadium solution for driving fan engagement. Responsible for digital marketing and business development, I’m the one staying at the front of company’s growth and expansion. Strong leadership is essential to managing the team and defining the strategy of the business. Snaptivity has signed 3 year deal with Edgbaston Cricket Ground, signed sales partnership with leading sports marketing agencies, coming to two Premier League clubs shortly and recieved requests from clubs and venues around the UK, Europe, Russia and the USA. With more than 5 years in advertising and events, as well as game development, I have variety of skills and experiences from basics of Web Development all the way to Market Research, HR, Marketing Strategy, Communications and Digital Marketing. Entrepreneurial experience in co-founding 3 other start-ups, with 1 reached profitability, 1 with successful exit and 1 raised investment round. My first start-up was in advertising and events industry, with the main focus on low-budget creative campaigns. The startup reached the profitability. We were proud to be working with companies like Dannon, Coca-Cola and Samsung for the BTL and digital campaigns in Belarus. I believe in the power of continuous education. I’m constant learner in my field of knowledge and experience. Pursued online courses during busy entrepreneurial journey. Recently, completed a course in Sport & Entertainment Marketing from Yonsey University.

Joanna Srednicka
Joanna Srednicka

Country: Poland
Company: Competence Game
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/joanna-srednicka-3332342
Twitter: @sredasia
Facebook: @joanna.srednicka.7

Entrepreneur, game design and organization studies expert and consultant. Joanna specializes in change impact analysis and HR processes, conducts studies on organizational culture. She has completed over 1000 hours of development interventions for teams and leaders from multinationals, public institutions, and international NGOs. A pacifist with a high ratio of feminism, who seeks inspiration in connections and contrasts at the interface between cultures, disciplines, sectors, science and practice. She studied in Poland (Warsaw University graduate) and France (Lille), for a while in Switzerland (Neuchâtel), one foot was already in San Francisco, but PGS kept her in Poland. A sociologist, PHD candidate in management, visiting lecturer at Polish and international universities. She has gained her experience conducting training projects for various environments – businesses, international organizations and local governments (UNDP, Global Compact Poland, variety of EU programs), social organizations (The Responsible Business Forum, Foundation for Social and Economic Initiatives), schools.

WASHINGTON, DC

Jelena Filipovic
Jelena Filipovic

Country: Montenegro
Company: Piper’s Green

Ms. Jelena Filipovic Chief Executive Director Piper’s Green Ms. Jelena Filipovic formed Piper’s Green in July 2014, as the first vegetarian and vegan food facility in Montenegro. She obtained her BA degree in Communication Sciences at the University of Bari, Italy in 2005. Following this initial stay abroad, Ms. Filipovic decided to digress from her original academic current toward practical education in the area of food production, which sparked her interest in the social, economic and health aspects of food production. Ms. Filipovic was a participant of the six-month Erasmus program for Young Entrepreneurs in 2016. The aim of the program was to acquaint the participants with the business models and operations of the host companies. Within the scope of the program, she interned at two fine dining new-Nordic restaurants at the heart of Copenhagen, Denmark. These internships were a platform for getting acquainted with urban gardening, foraging, seasonal cooking, educational programs for school pupils in the area of agriculture, as well as business management. As a young entrepreneur, she is currently attending seminars and trainings organized by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the UN quarters in Montenegro, dedicated to the development and economic strengthening of women entrepreneurs in the country, and the growth of SMEs. The critical topics of these trainings are leadership, team management, business and market analysis, strategic planning, and marketing, essential for personal and professional development.

Erjon Shuaipi
Erjon Shuaipi

Country: Albania
Company: Fruit Juice 4 U

Erjon Shuaipi is the co-founder of the start up Fruit Juice 4U (local and bio food) since November 2015. His major is an environmental engineer and for more than six years he has been engaged in several projects founded by the EU Delegation in Albania, Italian cooperation, as: i)Engineer and coordinator for the project “Construction of the Sewage Systems in Golem, Durrës and Lezha, Albania Lot 1 – Sewage System in Përroi Agait – Golem and Discharge to the Kavaja WWTP”; ii) Technical analysis and responsible for the preparation of the detailed reports and respective update during the surveillance and physical security period for some of the objects stored by the company; iii) Engineer and coordinator for the project “Water Production and Storage Rehabilitation” part of “Water and Waste Water Sector of Tirana City program”; iv) Technical consultant for the energy efficiency in the sector of sanitary water. He is awarded with the Certificate for preparation of EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) reports, environmental auditing reports and environmental expertise.

Emil Vadana
Emil Vadana

Country: Romania
Company: ENGAGER
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/emilvadana/

Emil Vadana is Co-Founder at Engager. Previously, he built and run for 4 years a local digital marketing agency, which he exited before starting working full-time at Engager. Before that, he worked in a performance management consulting company and as a PM for a global HR project at Alcatel-Lucent (now NOKIA) in Paris, France.

Patricia Corral Alava
Patricia Corral Alava

Country: Spain
Company: MediaBank

Patricia Corral Alava is a marketing professional and an enthusiast of technology, media and innovation. Currently based in Barcelona, she works as a Marketing Manager for the tech start-up MediaBank and the software company VSN, where she is in charge of B2B communications, developing business and marketing strategy, attracting new visitors, leads and customers, and increasing brand awareness through both digital and traditional communication channels. Before devoting herself fully to Digital Marketing, Patricia has worked as a journalist for EFE news agency and Eitb Media Group, as a Marketing Assistant for the company Pier 2 Marketing in San Francisco (US) and more recently, as an International Trade Advisor for the Economic and Commercial Office of the Spanish Embassy in Moscow (Russia). All these experiences have helped her gain an international approach and perspective to business development and strategy, as well as to keep always an open-minded attitude, willing to look for new professional challenges. Patricia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from the University of Navarra and a Master’s Degree in International Business Administration from the International University Menéndez Pelayo and the public institution ICEX – Spain Trade and Investment.

Andreas Antoin Rabenseifner
Andreas Antoin Rabenseifner

Country: Hungary
Company: Plenuum and hipteam
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/andreas-rabenseifner
Twitter: @andreas_raben

Andreas is a Research Scientist and holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry (2015) from the Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) that he completed under a Marie Curie Early Stage Fellowship. He has cofounded AgriVeritas at 2015 with the motivation to turn his scientific expertise into innovation that will be inextricably linked with the green economy of the future.

Congratulations to the 2017 YTILI Fellows!

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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.

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  • All Fired Up Jul 7, 2017
    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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  • Ce que Vint Cerf m’a appris à propos du business et de l’échec Sep 20, 2016
    Du 1er au 25 juin 2016, j’ai eu la chance de vivre une extraordinaire aventure humaine et entrepreneuriale. J’ai été sélectionnée par l’Ambassade des États-Unis en France pour participer au programme Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI), une initiative du Meridian International Center avec le support du Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs du U.S. […]
    Mariame Tighanimine
  • Ce qu’un « eurocrate » m’a appris sur les rapports entre politique et business Sep 20, 2016
    Du 1er au 25 juin 2016, j’ai eu la chance de vivre une extraordinaire aventure humaine et entrepreneuriale. J’ai été sélectionnée par l’Ambassade des États-Unis en France pour participer au programme Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI), une initiative du Meridian International Center avec le support du Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs du U.S. […]
    Mariame Tighanimine
  • #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 […]
    Ina Paunova
  • 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, […]
    Blagica Petreski
  • Meet GES Delegate: Ina Paunova Jun 16, 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 […]
    Ina Paunova

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