GW OIE hosts State Department (YLAI) Chilean Fellow

May 21, 2024

Yanixza Alfaro picture

In April, the GW OIE hosted Yanixza Alfaro, a fellow from Chile through the US State Department’s Young Leaders of the American Initiative Program (YLAI). 

Yanixza, the founder of her own company, A Consultores Chile, participated in the six-week long YLAI program to understand the differences between the entrepreneurial ecosystems in the U.S. and Chile, specifically focusing on student and women founders. During her time, she attended a number of OIE and GW events including New Venture Competition workshops, Mini Pitch George and classroom visits with Bob Smith. 

Yanixza shared that her favorite experiences were attending CONNECTpreneur, a premium DC networking event that connects entrepreneurs with investors, and Seed Spot’s 2024 DC Demo Day Showcase event with Kate Heath. After participating in OIE’s programming, she noted many distinctions between the U.S. and Chilean markets, including how networking is more communicative across industries and how we classify “startups”.

“In the U.S., you have a different vision about entrepreneurs because in Chile, we think startups have a connection with technology…but here you have another concept, it can be anything,” Yanixza said.

She also loved getting to know the OIE team and the office. “I feel really appreciative to GW because I felt so good in that place by being partnered to a good team. It was so important to me because being far away from your family and your co-workers is difficult but [the experience] was so amazing,” she said.

Originally from Northern Santiago, Yanixza’s company empowers and provides resources to women entrepreneurs in rural communities of Chile. This includes assisting them in applying for government grants, and then supporting them throughout the process if they receive the funding. Some of the women-owned local businesses range from bakeries to clothing upcycling and making Chilean food-specialities. Since 2018, Yanixza has also worked as a professor at the Universidad Católica del Norte in the entrepreneurship department. 

Yanixza was extremely appreciative of her time at GW OIE and in the YLAI program, as she said it contributes to a more global perspective on entrepreneurship by collaborating with people from different countries. “YLAI was an opportunity to grow not only professionally but also personally.” 

The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Fellowship Program empowers entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities.