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Wassim El Hariri from Lebanon Wins First Place at the 2018 GIST Tech-I Competition

April 19, 2018

Wassim El Hariri from Lebanon has been named the 2018 Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Tech-I competition Grand Champion. His company SASHA uses a uniquely designed robot to fully automate food distribution in hospitals. El Hariri was one of 10 Tech-I finalists competing for more than $170,000 USD in startup resources, thanks to Tech-I partners Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Alice.  GIST is the U.S. Department of State’s flagship science and technology entrepreneurship program.  GIST works to empower and strengthen science and technology entrepreneurs to create markets, promote security, and grow opportunities for all in over 136 emerging economies through online and in-country programming, partnerships, and pitch competitions.

A full list of the 2018 Tech-I winners can be found below:

  • FIRST PLACE: Wassim El Hariri, SASHA, Lebanon will receive $3,500 USD, $50,000 in AWS credits, a scholarship ticket to the 2019 Circular Summit, a feature on the Alice blog, and three hours of mentorship with Team Alice.
  • SECOND PLACE: Ja’far Albadarneh, ARtour, Jordan will receive $2,500 USD, $20,000 in AWS credits, and a scholarship ticket to the 2019 Circular Summit.
  • THIRD PLACE: Sadaf Naz, Her Ground, Pakistan will receive $1,500 USD, $10,000 in AWS credits, and a scholarship ticket to the 2019 Circular Summit.
  • AMAZON OUTSTANDING WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR: Sadaf Naz, Her Ground, Pakistan will receive $1,500 USD, $25,000 in AWS credits, a scholarship ticket to the 2019 Circular Summit, and an hour of mentorship with Team Alice.
  • BEST ALUMNI PITCH: Anwar Almojarkesh, Braci Limited, Syria will receive $30,000 in AWS credits, a scholarship ticket to the 2019 Circular Summit, and an hour of mentorship with Team Alice.
  • OUTSTANDING WOMAN ALUMNA PITCH: Jihane Laraichi, EducationCM, Morocco, and Almas Taj Awan, Pakistan will receive scholarship tickets to the 2019 Circular Summit.
  • SPIRIT OF TECH-I: Shahd Douglas, TechTeb, Jordan will receive $1,000 USD, $5,000 in AWS credits, and a scholarship ticket to the 2019 Circular Summit.

The finalists for the GIST Tech-I competition were chosen based on a combined score that took into account their performance during the public vote portion of the competition with over 200,000 votes cast, the quality of their 90 second pitch video, and feedback from former Tech-I competitors.

During the April 16 – 19 finals at the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Istanbul, Turkey, the 10 Tech-I finalists pitched their startups or ideas to an expert panel of judges who selected the seven winners – including the outstanding female entrepreneur, the best alumni mentor and female alumna pitches, and the Spirit of Tech-I. The Spirit of Tech-I award recognizes an entrepreneur who had an innovative idea or startup, worked hard throughout the competition and excelled during the training.

GIST Tech-I is an annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs from emerging economies around the world.  New this year, former GIST Tech-I competitors played an active role as Alumni Mentors in soliciting, selecting, and mentoring the 2018 semifinalists and finalists.  Since 2011, Tech-I has helped hundreds of young entrepreneurs showcase their startups, provided founders with thousands of expert reviews, and collected over one million public votes in support of entrepreneurship.

A full list of the 2018 Tech-I finalists, including name, country, and startup description can be found online at www.GISTNetwork.org.

For media inquiries, please contact Tomas Harmon at [email protected], Brandon van Hoff at [email protected] or the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State at [email protected].