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GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition 2019

The Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative is holding a live pitch competition during the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in The Hague, Netherlands 3-5 June, 2019. The GIST Catalyst pitch competition will include featured startups from Europe, the United States, and other countries from around the world. Through the competition, young entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to elevate their pitch and showcase the startups they are working on. Teams will also learn how to pitch their business ideas to investors and potential partners—a critical skill for entrepreneurs.

Log in and vote for your favorite startup team every day from 13 May until 12:00 p.m. EDT, 24 May! THANK YOU FOR VOTING!


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How to Vote

The Competition


Rules, Eligibility and Judging Criteria

How to Vote

The only way a GIST Catalyst competitor can reach the live semifinals is by getting voted in by the public. People all over the world will have a chance to vote once per day for their favorite startup team. The teams with the most votes get a spot to pitch their startups to a panel of judges during the GES in The Hague, Netherlands on 3-5 June, 2019.


The Competition

Startups competing in GIST Catalyst will be from the five focus sectors of the GES, which are Energy, Health, Water, Connectivity/Infrastructure, and Food/Agriculture. During the GES, startup teams will give three minute pitches, without slides, to a small panel of judges followed by two to three minutes of questions.

From these preliminary rounds, four winners will be picked, one for each industry. Those winners will then pitch again during the GES closing session and a top winner will be selected. Entrepreneurs will be competing for a variety prizes, such as $100,000 worth of Amazon Web Services credits, which can be used on tech training and cloud computing platforms. AWS is a subsidiary of that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies and governments. Stay tuned for details on more prizes competitors can win during the competition. 

GIST Catalyst teams competing during 2019 GES will be selected after opting into the competition on their GES application, completing any supplemental information on and providing a 90 second pitch video for public voting and review. Finalists from the public voting and review will then be given online and in-person coaching at the GES before competing in the GIST Catalyst pitch competition.



Prizes will be announced soon.

Rules, Eligibility and Judging Criteria


Please note these are only highlighted rules. Please read the linked Terms and Conditions thoroughly.

  1. During the public voting period, the competitors will not engage in any cheating behavior by using voting bots, paid voters, etc. Only one vote is permitted per person, per day. If it is determined that a competitor has illegitimately manipulated the results, he or she will be immediately disqualified.
  2. VentureWell and Department of State staff, participants, and judges will not be asked to sign any non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). Please do not disclose confidential business or technological information.
  3. All competitors will be expected to engage in any educational webinars and read any provided resources.
  4. Selected semifinalists will attend and participate in all GIST Catalyst activities at GES.

Full Terms and Conditions (


GIST Catalyst pitch competition applicants must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible to participate at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES):

1) The applicants will be selected from the invited and registered attendees of the 2019 GES who indicated an interest in the pitch competition.

2) In order to progress in the competition applicants must submit all required components (i.e. headshot, 90 second pitch video, business summary and background).

3) All application materials must be received by the submission deadline.

4) Only applications that focus on solutions with market potential in the following sectors will be eligible:

  • Energy
  • Health
  • Water
  • Food/Agriculture
  • Connectivity/Infrastructure

5) Applicants can be male or female, and GIST strongly encourages female entrepreneurs.

6) Teams/individuals may only enter the competition once.

7) For a team application, each team must select one member who will be the applicant for the team in the competition. In team situations, eligibility is determined by the applicant team member, not the team as a whole. This member does not have to occupy a particular position on the team, (e.g., CEO); however, their role and responsibilities within the team must be documented in the application. Should the application progress to the finals, the applicant team member will represent the team at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The applicant team member is hereafter referred to as the applicant and will be the recipient of any prizes.

Judging Criteria:

Positive consideration will be given to applications that focus on the following:

  • Empowering women, either internally as a company or externally through the company’s product or service;
  • Science or technology based products or services; and 
  • Novel ideas, either by concept, approach, technology, or market.

A combination of expert review scores and public votes will determine the thirty finalists to pitch at the GES (10 Americans, 10 Europeans, and 10 Global entrepreneurs). Note the ten European finalists will be selected both through the GIST Catalyst process as well as from the Academic Olympics winners.