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2018 GIST Tech-I Finalists Announced

February 28, 2018

After an intense voting round that mobilized hundreds of thousands of votes from around the world, the U.S. Department of State is excited to announce the 2018 GIST Tech-I Finalists.

The 2018 GIST Tech-I Finalists representing eight countries are:

  • Jafar Albadarneh, Jordan
  • Sylvia Azi, Nigeria
  • Shahd Douglas, Jordan
  • Wassim El Hariri, Lebanon
  • Okey Esse, Nigeria
  • Iheb Eddine Imad, Algeria
  • Taeef Najib, Bangladesh
  • Sadaf Naz, Pakistan
  • Zulkhaidir Purwanto, Indonesia
  • Paul Semivumbi, Rwanda

In a break from past GIST Tech-I Competition, finalists from pervious GIST Tech-I competitions have played an active role in soliciting, selecting and mentoring the 2018 Tech-I participants. The past finalists function as Alumni Mentors, who work with the competitors to improve their ideas and perfect their pitch. In this year’s Tech-I, applicants chose which Alumni Mentor they wanted to work with when they applied to the competition. Alumni Mentors then selected the best applications to move on to the semifinals. 106 impressive innovators from 46 emerging economies were selected as 2018 GIST Tech-I Semifinalists.

From January 26 through February 22, the 106 semifinalists embarked on a huge marketing campaign to advertise their projects and encourage people to vote in the GIST Tech-I competition. In total, GIST Tech-I Semifinalists received 200,000 votes. Their efforts and the incredible support they received, highlight how amazing ideas and hard work can not only benefit an individual, but also a community, a country, a region and the world as a whole. 

The 10 GIST Tech-I Finalists will now undergo online training prior to flying to Istanbul, Turkey to participate in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress. At GEC 2018, the finalists will receive one-day of intensive entrepreneurial skills training, mentorship and the opportunity to network with global leaders in their fields. The GIST Tech-I Finals will culminate in a live pitch before a panel of expert judges, to decide who will return home with capital seed prizes to help grow their businesses.

The Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative is led by the U.S Department of State, and the GIST Tech-I Competition is implemented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.