YLAI Professional Fellowship with Ricardo Allen

YLAI Professional Fellowship with Ricardo Allen

My name is Ricardo Allen and I’m the President and CEO of One on One Educational Services, and I’m a YLAI Fellow. Actually, I was awarded the YLAI on the pilot program in December. I went overseas in February and spent three wonderful weeks in the U.S. learning about entrepreneurship, making strong connections and networks. Now I’m back trying to implement everything I have learnt, its quite exciting. Being an entrepreneur of a startup company in Jamaica, you are always looking for opportunities to grow and scale the business. While you are exposed to many things here in Jamaica, it is never a bad idea to be a part of a globalized, fast-passed entrepreneurial world, such as that which exists in the US, so the YLAI was really a no brainer to me. Certainly, when the opportunity came up I took the opportunity to apply and really enjoyed the experience. Everything from growing and scaling a business, cutting expenses where necessary, coming up with new ideas, launching a product, It was all there and I think perhaps the most beneficial part of the program was the people. We had twenty four fellows on the pilot program, as you know, the new program will be two hundred and fifty, so that’s tenfold. Twenty three other fellows form all across the Americas sharing similar problems you are having in your business, coming up with solutions that you can share, understanding what they are doing and how you can do in your business was certainly something that was invaluable. I really enjoyed the people as well as the program setup, everything that was planned for us, workshops, it was amazing. I encourage everyone who is an entrepreneur looking to grow their business, not just thinking about Jamaica, but trying to grow their business beyond the shores of Jamaica, beyond the shores of the Caribbean, to apply for the YLAI. It will give you the necessary exposure; it will set you up nicely for networks, people that you can call on. Currently I’m actually doing a deal with a company out of Panama, someone I actually met on the YLAI. It gives you new markets, I mean which one of us as entrepreneurs really think about exporting services to South America? To begin with, most of South America speaks Spanish, so it gives you that exposure, I would expect everyone to apply for this. It is a remarkable program, if you need funding, grant assistance everything. I had a fellow who got two years’ worth of funding after going on the YLAI. That’s amazing. Think of you funding your very own idea, having it come to pass. It’s a chance of a lifetime. Get it.

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