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Young Cuban technologists to study US entrepreneurship as interns in New York
Published on June 19, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

NEW YORK, USA -- With Cuban-American relations back front and center on the political agenda, four of Cuba’s best and brightest minds in technology and design have been selected to travel to the US and learn about American entrepreneurship in the heart of New York City’s startup scene. The students were selected out of a field of nearly 100 applicants for the experience by the Innovadores Foundation, an American non-profit that works with Cuban young people to seed innovation in Cuba.

This is the third year that the Innovadores Foundation has brought Cuban innovators to America for a six-week, all-expenses-paid internship where they are embedded with startup technology companies at Grand Central Tech, a Midtown Manhattan tech incubator. This year, for the first time, one of the interns will work in high fashion learning trend forecasting at Fashion Snoops, an agency founded by Lilly Berelovich, a long-time Innovadores advisor.

The past two years the interns came to the US at poignant moments in Cuban-American history: the thaw in relations in 2015 and Obama’s historic trip to Cuba early last year. This year is no exception, though not in the way some would hope. With President Trump’s announcement on Friday of the rollbacks, many are left wondering, what becomes of Cuba?

“These young people represent the very future of Cuba, and they hold the same hopes and dreams as past Innovadores interns -- to learn skills here in America that they can take back home to better incorporate Cuba into the global economy,” said John Caulfield, the former chief of mission of the US Interests Section in Havana and a cofounder of the Innovadores Foundation.

“The past two years have seen increased optimism in Cuba, and despite the disagreements between our two governments, this program is proof that there are still many ways for Cubans and Americans to work together to better our two countries," he noted.

“Though the announcement today impacts Americans’ ability to do business with the Cuban government,” says Miles Spencer, a cofounder of the Innovadores Foundation, “it still leaves plenty of room for innovation and collaboration, an opportunity to help the people of Cuba gain important skills that can raise their standards of living and do more to retain bright young minds who will build the Cuba of the future.”

The four interns, Alessa Pérez Roque, computer science; Alicia Rodríguez Milhet, industrial engineering; Gabriela Hernández Rodríguez, industrial design; and David Domínguez Francisco, physics, will arrive in New York on July 8.

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