Swiss Entrepreneur Silvan Visits U.S. for YTILI Fellowship

Swiss entrepreneur Silvan traveled to the U.S. in 2018 as part of the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative exchange program.

The Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellowship, also known as YTILI, is a U.S. State Department exchange program that engages young European entrepreneurs in a series of professional development and leadership activities. The fellowship opens with a summit in Europe, followed by a week-long experience in a U.S. host city, and concludes with a conference in Washington, DC.

Swiss YTILI alumnus Silvan Kraehenbuehl shares his experience with the U.S. Embassy in Bern:

“YTILI is a unique opportunity to not only learn more about the American entrepreneurship ecosystem, but to also make invaluable connections, because you will meet great people from all over the world.” – Silvan, 2018 YTILI Alumnus

Silvan, who was one of 70 European participants in the cohort of 2018, describes his two-week trip to the United States as an invaluable experience: “After a fantastic week in Austin, we met up with all the other fellows who had visited different cities, and convened in Washington, DC. It was wonderful to share my experience with other European entrepreneurs and foster new connections. We tackled business issues, talked about our failures and lessons learned, and had a really great time together.”

Swiss YTILI participant Silvan (front right) enjoyed fostering connections and exchanging expertise with other European entrepreneurs.

When asked about his main takeaways from his exciting journey, Silvan said: “Overall, the most impressive thing that I learned was the fact that, in the United States, starting a company and selling it is incredibly common. People then take money they earned and invest it in new companies. This seems to be the biggest difference compared to Europe. Back home, it is rare for successful entrepreneurs to reinvest their profits on such a widespread scale. From my perspective, this availability of funds is a key factor that makes the U.S. ecosystem so robust.”

Details About the Program

The Fellowship runs from April to October, with a summit in a European City in June and two weeks in the U.S. in September. It focuses on building a transatlantic innovation network. YTILI aims to provide its participants with skills, experiences, and connections that help them grow their business or social venture. Through the fellowship, participants also gain insight to the policy context, financial landscape, and U.S. entrepreneurial ecosystems. Swiss entrepreneurs between the ages of 24 and 35 are welcome to apply for YTILI. The application period for YTILI 2020 opens in November and more information is available here. In Silvan’s words: “I highly encourage everyone who reads this and runs a company to apply for next year’s YTILI program!”