While many young Americans can launch start-ups with a strategic collection of resources, would-be entrepreneurs in Cuba face many hurdles launching ventures. In the communist nation, mentorship opportunities—and even basic necessities such as consistent broadband connections—can be scarce.
A new initiative wants to change this by giving young Cuban interns a chance to learn about American entrepreneurship on U.S. soil. The unique program follows President Barack Obama's sweeping reforms in January that restored diplomatic relations with the country after 54 years.
Nearly a week ago, four young Cubans arrived in New York to begin their internship at the Grand Central Tech accelerator, which hosts start-ups for a year as they grow and scale.
"Entrepreneurs that start their own companies expect to own the fruits of their labor, but that's not currently the case in Cuba," said Miles Spencer, a tech entrepreneur and angel. "However, everything related to entrepreneurship—from problem solving to innovation and helping people—Cubans are great at," said Spencer, who founded the Greenwich, Connecticut-based nonprofit C.A.A. that runs the "Innovadores" internship.