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Gonzalo Pertile MIDP’17 and his company were selected for the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI), launched by President Barack Obama last year to empower entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean who are transforming their societies and contributing to human development.

Pertile is co-founder of The Mayan Store, a Guatemala-based company dedicated to the design and production of exclusive handmade home decor and personal accessories in indigenous Central American communities. The company currently provides job opportunities for more than 550 artisans in Guatemala.

“We are committed to the preservation of Mayan cultural heritage and promoting environmental and social awareness by developing sustainable trade opportunities for our artisans,” he said.

YLAI aims to accelerate winners’ success by helping them develop specific action plans and build partnerships to attract investment. Pertile will be one of 250 entrepreneurs expanding their leadership experience through fellowships at businesses and civil society organizations across the United States.

The closing three-day summit will take place in Washington, D.C. on the week of Nov. 7. The summit will give fellows the opportunity to network with top U.S. government officials as well as global public, private and nonprofit leaders. 

Following the summit, YLAI fellows continue their collaboration with U.S. partners and have access to ongoing professional development opportunities, innovation and travel grants, mentorships, networking and alumni activities.

Pertile holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Montevideo in Uruguay. He initially worked for Tenaris, a multinational corporation in the oil and gas industry. Later, he moved to Guatemala where he worked at the Inter-American Development Bank as an international consultant in the Reform/Modernization of the State division.

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