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5 Tips for Prospective YTILI Fellows

Written by: Matteo Forte, Italy, 2017 Fellow

Placement city: Charlotte, North Carolina

LinkedIn Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/matteoforte

 Matteo Forte is a tech entrepreneur and a communications design expert. He is the co-founder of Switch, an urban mobility app, and a board member of ADPM Drones, a company focused on building autonomous drone-based B2B solutions. In 2017, Matteo was selected for the YTILI Fellowship and featured in the “Italian Book of Innovation” (Rizzoli). He also occasionally works as a consultant and trainer for Incubators and Venture Capital funds on evaluating startups and building incubation/acceleration programs.

2017 YTILI Group Meeting

5 Tips for Prospective YTILI Fellows

 I was selected to participate in the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative (YTILI) in 2017, and I wanted to share a few tips that I thought might be helpful for prospective YTILI Fellows.

1. Prepare, in advance

Take the time to prepare your application -- think about your experiences, motivation, and goals, incorporate them into your application, and read your application a few times before submitting it.

Also, remember to prepare ahead before your U.S. experience. After being selected as a YTILI Fellow, I immediately started preparing by researching potential partners and interesting people to connect with. I quickly connected with Devin Collins, my amazing professional host in Charlotte, North Carolina, whose guidance really helped me make the most out of my YTILI experience.

2. Be flexible and open-minded

While planning is key, things can also move very quickly during the YTILI program, so it’s important to be flexible and open-minded. It is okay to improvise and make some adjustments along the way.

3. Communicate with your team

If you are an entrepreneur building your venture, it’s not easy to step away from your work for several weeks. We all know that. Communicate with your team prior to your U.S. experience -- establish a workflow plan with them beforehand, and explain to them that participating in YTILI is a special opportunity for you and your venture. It can help you reach important goals and connect with amazing people from all over the world. It’s a unique experience, and you’ll regret it if you don’t do it.

4. Form friendships and connections

One of the most valuable assets of the YTILI Program is the connection you make with entrepreneurs and leaders from the U.S. and across Europe. Leverage this opportunity to expand your network both in the U.S. and in Europe. You will meet amazing European entrepreneurs in your fellowship cohort, and you really want to get to know each and every one of them - amazing people with unique stories and experiences to share. Don’t be afraid, don’t be shy, talk to them! It really is the opportunity of a lifetime to form lasting friendships and connections.

5. What you get is what you put in

During the YTILI Program, you will be busy. You will have deadlines, training courses, webinars, and other tasks. Some of them are mandatory, some of them are not. But one thing is for sure: the more you give to the fellowship, the more you will get out of it. Participate as much as you can!

The YTILI Fellowship Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and supported in its implementation by WorldChicago.

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