Your Better Business Bureau was honored to be selected by GlobalPittsburgh as a host for the U.S. Department of State’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program. BBB served as the professional placement for Maira Peres, CEO of Diosa, an online platform in Brazil that connects women who work in home renovation with customers, while advocating for social change. By providing visibility and job opportunities to female workers in Brazil, Diosa hopes to help end gender stereotypes and positively impact local women and the Brazilian economy.
The goal of the five-week YLAI Professional Fellows Program was to place ten business and social entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean with relevant businesses and startups, non-governmental organizations and similar entities in Pittsburgh. The participants further developed their business or social venture plans by engaging in skills-building workshops and learned from U.S. counterparts by participating in day-to-day operations at their host organizations. YLAI Professional Fellows are then to use the knowledge gained through their experiences to effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities.
“GlobalPittsburgh believes that the placement of Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Fellow, Maira Peres from Brazil, at BBB was one of the best placements that we made for the project in Pittsburgh,” says Gail Shrott, Director, International Leaders Program at GlobalPittsburgh. “Maira benefitted greatly from BBB’s knowledge and willingness to help her develop new ideas for her business and BBB has forged a strong linkage to Maira and Brazil.”
As a component of the YLAI Professional Fellows Program, each Fellow also had the ability to participate in a pitch competition by creating a business or organizational pitch, seeking feedback from their host and presenting the pitch to a panel of judges. Maira was named as the winning pitch for the Pittsburgh competition and was awarded the opportunity to compete against winners from other cities participating in the YLAI Professional Fellows Program. She presented her pitch during the program’s closing summit in Washington D.C., where she took second place overall.
Warren King, president of the Better Business Bureau of Western PA, reflects upon BBB’s experience with the YLAI Professional Fellows program as being positive and mutually beneficial: “Miara has brought to BBB a lot of enthusiasm and passion for what she does, which is important as a non-profit organization. We recognize that all small businesses have problems, whether they are located in North America or Brazil, but both of our organizations strive to create meaningful solutions to these issues and bring about positive change in the marketplace.”
“Through my experience with the Better Business Bureau, I was amazed at how much I learned about how to offer value to contractors in Brazil through becoming a leader in setting industry standards,” says Maira Peres, CEO of Diosa. “I’m grateful for what I’ve learned and am excited to put everything into practice and make a lot of positive changes in Brazil.”