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2017 Highlights from the GIST Network

December 28, 2017

Dear Members,

As 2017 comes to a close, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite highlights from the past year. From Medellin, Colombia, to Hyderabad, India, the GIST Network has been active – sparking new innovations and supporting startup growth. We believe the impact stories that have emerged this year show how critical our network is in supporting young entrepreneurs in emerging economies.

First and foremost, our Network would not be possible without you. Our programming has been designed to help hundreds of innovators across the globe find new ways to make the world a better place using science and technology – and you have made those endeavors a success.

In 2017, you have helped create GIST Mentor Match – an online portal with more than 300 mentors, breaking down the barriers that some entrepreneurs face in finding resources to help their startups grow. You helped bring together investors and ecosystem builders in Colombia, creating financial support for early-stage startups through the GIST Investors program. You helped cast more than 10,000 votes in the GIST Catalyst pitch competition, giving young entrepreneurs access to $400,000 USD in startup resources. And you help every day, by sharing our stories on Facebook and Twitter.

On behalf of the team at GIST, we want to thank you for making this Network possible. We thank you for your support and your participation, but most importantly, we thank you for helping inspire new innovations and young entrepreneurs around the world. Take a look back on the highlights of 2017 below.


The GIST Network


GIST Mentor Match Portal Opening for Entrepreneurs Around the World

GIST Mentor Match is a new online portal that aims to break down the barriers that can prevent startups and entrepreneurs from finding mentors. Since its launch in October, more than 300 mentors have signed up to the online portal – representing a wide array of industries from financial technology to health care. [ READ MORE ]


GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition Highlighting Young Innovators at GES 2017

New this year, the GIST Network created the GIST Catalyst pitch competition for the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. More than 10,000 votes were cast to pick the 24 semifinalists who advanced to the GES in Hyderabad, India. With prizes from Amazon Web Services, Dell, Alice, Google Cloud and Cognizant, the competition offered participants over $400,000 USD in startup resources. [ READ MORE ]


Ajaita Shah from India Named Grand Champion of the GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition

During the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit, 24 semifinalists competed on a global stage in front of an expert panel of judges. Ajaita Shah from India, founder of Frontier Markets, was named the GIST Catalyst Grand Champion. Her prizes will help her startup empower women in India through solar energy products and distribution. [ READ MORE ]


GIST Investors Promises Continued Innovation in Medellin Startup Ecosystem

In an effort to strengthen the in-country investor networks for startups, the GIST Network created the GIST Investors program. By teaming up with local incubators and ecosystem stakeholders, the year-long program offers training that helps investors support early-stage startups. GIST Investors' first program launched in Medellin, Colombia – highlighting the city's potential for entrepreneurs. [ READ MORE ]


Microsoft Regional Competition Winners Advance to Global Finals in Seattle

This year’s Imagine Cup competition marked a new partnership between Microsoft and the GIST Network. Six teams from Imagine Cup: Middle East and Africa advanced to the global Imagine Cup finals in Seattle, Washington. The six teams that advanced worked with the GIST Network during the Imagine Cup: Middle East and Africa, attending workshops and trainings on how to make a successful pitch. [ READ MORE ]


GIST Startup Startup Trainings Winner Targets Underserved Financial Market 

Entrepreneurs in Amman, Jordan learned how to make their startups better though hands-on training on customer discovery, customer development and structuring a pitch during the August GIST Startup Trainings. Tanda, the Startup Trainings startup winner, brings an old financial practice in Jordan online through a new mobile application. [ READ MORE ]