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Hear from our alumni – their experiences on the program and where they are now.

Alumni Stories

BAFF participants’ experiences are as diverse as the places they’ve taken them. Hear more about the time our Alumni spent on the program and what kind of work they’re involved with now.

BAFF Videos

2014 BAFF Alumni

BAFF Alumni Stories: Lauri, Elise and Mihkel

BAFF Alumni Stories: Ilona and Zane

BAFF Alumni Stories: Kestutis, Dovile and Karolis

Arturs' Story

Arturs Zandersons - Dienas BiznessArturs Zandersons was interviewd by Dienas Bizness, Latvia’s main business newspaper, about his experience as a BAFF intern in Silicon Valley.

"Having returned from the traineeship in the Silicon Valley, start-up consultant Arturs Zandersons (Artūrs Zandersons) intends to unite Latvian companies spread across various clusters, incubators, and technological parks under a single brand. Such a unified platform would ease the attraction of investors and inform newcomers about various opportunities.

Mr. Zandersons has recently returned from the United States, where he had the opportunity to be a trainee at a new company in Silicon Valley- the Mecca for new technologies and companies. He worked in the world’s largest clean technologies start-up accelerator, Cleantech Open. As he points out: 'I have experienced how the start-up experts work, learned from these company experts, met with their managers'.

Mr. Zandersons’ willingness to learn has led him to the Baltic-American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). Before that he had graduated from the Business Management Programme at Riga Technical University, worked as a consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in public sector consultations, and developed the wish to increase his experience outside Latvia. Quite by chance he noticed the BAFF competition, applied, and also successfully passed the competition. He knew that he wanted to gain experience in the field of investments and clean technologies, therefore he started by looking for banks and investment funds, but, eventually, having considered various pros and cons, came to Cleantech Open – a non-profit organisation, established by investors in the field of clean technologies of Silicon Valley.

At this company, Mr. Zandersons worked as a project assistant and later joined the team of coordinators in the international programme. There are five paid employees and 1, 500 volunteers working in this company. So, what does this organisation do? It tries to bring up successful new companies in the field of technologies. During the period of nine months, new companies on a competition basis are led through the programme – each stage provides for a separate set of studies, and support is directed towards both the development of the team and the product, participants are taught how to represent themselves and their product to investors, and how to deal with financial calculations."

Ilona's Story

Ilona Markunaite - Diena ArticleIlona Markunaite was recently interviewed about her experience as a BAFF intern in the Diena, Latvia’s largest daily newspaper. See the article here.

"Although Ilona Markunaite has her own bookkeeping company, she spent a year in New York as an intern.

After a year spent in the USA, Baltic-American Freedom Foundation Professional Internship Program graduates are starting to return to Latvia. The very first returned just a couple of weeks ago. Ilona Markunaite, who is managing her own bookkeeping firm "Worldwide Accounting", spent last 12 months in a similar company in New York. "Now I have more energy than ever, although even before I had plenty" says Ilona and lively explains that bookkeeping is not only her profession but also the favorite hobby.

Since the establishment of BAFF in fall 2010, sixty participants from the Baltic’s have traveled to the USA to gain new experience and knowledge. Scholarships are awarded to the best of the best, without considering their affiliation to Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia, explains BAFF program regional manager Ilze Doskina. Significantly – after half a year or a year spent in the USA all fellows have to return to their home countries, to use the acquired skills at home."

BAFF Blogs

Hear a firsthand account of what it was like to be a BAFF Professional Intern, written by our Alumni while they were on the program.

Alumni Profiles - Ilze's Story

Ilze's Story

Read Ilze’s blog to hear more about her experience at TerraCycle, Inc. in New Jersey.

Alumni Profiles - Dovile's Story

Dovile's Story

Read Dovile’s blog to hear more about her experience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C.

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phone: +371-67035270

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