A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America

The ECA Professional Fellowship was for sure one of the best experiences in my life, and I learned so much from it! My income, through the blog, has more than doubled since I returned.

Elaine Miranda Vela, founder, Plata con Platica personal finance site

The Spring 2020 program has been postponed due to the new ICFJ policy

A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America is creating a network of journalists, technologists and media entrepreneurs across the region.

Laura Rojas Aponte interviews a woman in New York City as part of her fellowship with Fusion’s podcast team in fall 2017. Photo courtesy of Laura Rojas Aponte.
Laura Rojas Aponte interviews a woman in New York City as part of her fellowship. Photo credit: Laura Rojas Aponte

This network is harnessing the power of digital tools to create sustainable news businesses that provide news and information in the public interest. 

Since 2015, ICFJ, with funding from the U.S. Department of State, has brought more than 170 Latin American journalists, entrepreneurs, technologists and digital media experts to train and work at media organizations throughout the United States. Nearly 30 U.S. media hosts have visited Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia and Brazil to expand their cross-border collaborations.

Latin American fellows are placed with digital-first media organizations, the digital teams of traditional media and innovative start-ups. Hosts so far have included the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, AJ+, Fusion, Splash Media and the Huffington Post. The goal is for participants to launch digital media products in their own countries or develop business models to make existing projects more sustainable.

During the program, participants have launched or improved projects including:

  • An online investigative outlet in Colombia
  • A popular personal finance blog in Nicaragua
  • An LGBT community network which was founded in collaboration with multiple fellows in Colombia
  • A new platform, called Floods Alerts, which sends messages to citizens endangered by floods in the Amazonian cities of Brazil.

The most valuable aspect of the trip was meeting all the journalists, connecting with them and seeing the amazing work they are doing during a time of political chaos.

Corrie MacLaggan, Texas Tribune, who traveled to Brazil as part of the exchange. 

About the Fellowship

In 2020 in lieu of a pandemic ICFJ developed a virtual fellowship for another 36 Professional Fellows from 12 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru. Selected Latin American fellows will participate in a six-week virtual program anchored by four full weeks of professional virtual attachments at the host institutions. The program pairs fellows with U.S. hosts across the country at digital communications firms, startup incubators and cutting-edge digital newsrooms based on their backgrounds, skills and project proposals. During the virtual newsroom embed, fellows will receive an opportunity to meet and learn from different teams in the newsroom through online platforms.

The program begins with ICFJ-led virtual orientation,  where fellows receive hands-on training on digital tools and techniques and workshop their digital media project proposals with media entrepreneurs, while creating a safe space for collaboration and learning. Each fellow will also receive a small grant of $1,700 towards their project and will have an opportunity to work with mentors in the course of two months, in order to drive their personal digital projects to success. During the final week, fellows will participate virtually in the Professional Fellows Congress. The Congress connects the participants with other Professional Fellows from around the globe while helping them continue to hone their leadership and entrepreneurial skill sets.

A Digital Path to Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Latin America is part of the Professional Fellows Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Exchange and Cultural Affairs.  


Apply to the Fellowship

We are no longer accepting applications for the Fall 2020 program. 

Selection will be based on professional qualifications, relevant experience, leadership potential and commitment to enhancing mutual understanding among different countries. Participants must be fluent in English. The program is open to young professionals and emerging leaders, ages 25-40. Participants with disabilities will be accommodated during the program and are encouraged to apply.

For more information on eligibility requirements, please click here to read the program FAQ.  

Program dates for Fall 2020 Latin American fellows:

Recruitment of fellows: Spring 2020

Selection of fellows: Summer 2020

Orientation: September 8 – September 18, 2020

Virtual Newsroom Embed: September 21 – October 16, 2020

Professional mentorship: September 21 – November 21, 2020

Professional Fellows Congress: November 2 – November 20, 2020

Program Debrief: November 23, 2020

Program Dates:
10/12/2020 - 11/19/2020
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Contact Info

Amal Azimova
Program Manager

Vanessa Rodriguez
Program Officer


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