Want to learn more?

Watch this info session! 

What is GIST Business Incubation?

As a U.S. Department of State initiative, GIST's Business Incubation brings together the best science and technology innovators and American businesses to increase cross-market access and to create opportunities for collaboration. While in residence at an American incubator, entrepreneurs have opportunities to make connections with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and build business relationships for potential partners and investors. GIST Business Incubation also helps American businesses gain awareness of global entrepreneurs, innovations and markets.

Innovators From Across the World, All Meeting in One Incredible Place

Powered by the entrepreneurial expertise of leading venture development expertise of VentureWell and partners, embark on a transformative entrepreneurial journey with our 6-week Business Incubation program, where innovation meets guidance.

Here's some of what you can expect from the incubation part of the program:

Orientation & Ideation
Step into a world of possibilities with an immersive program overview. Get your creative side working with an ideation workshop and an introduction to design thinking. Follow that by crafting compelling business models and understanding your customer base.

Market Research & Validation
Master market dynamics as you explore cutting-edge research methodologies and dive into insightful customer interviews. Develop a robust value proposition, refine your cost structure, and identify the markets where your venture will truly shine.

Prototype & Development
Transform ideas into reality by learning the art of prototyping and delving into Minimum Viable Product (MVP) development. Craft a pitch deck that captivates investors and understand effective investor relations.

Maker Space & Business Growth
Embark on a hands-on journey through the Maker Space, where innovation takes tangible form. Navigate the intricacies of intellectual property, legal considerations, and master the art of contract negotiation. Propel your venture forward with insights into business growth strategies, financial projections, and exploring funding avenues.

Investor Pitch & Graduation
Pitch your vision to a panel of investors and mentors, showcasing the culmination of your hard work. The program concludes with a graduation ceremony, enlightening discussions about the next steps, and a plethora of ongoing support resources.

Throughout the Program, experience the advantage of a dedicated workspace, personalized one-on-one consultations with seasoned mentors, and exclusive access to state-of-the-art Maker Space facilities. Engage in speed networking, collaborate with experts, and experience in the entrepreneurial spirit that permeates our community.

Join us on this exhilarating ride, where innovation thrives, connections flourish, and success becomes a tangible reality. Your entrepreneurial journey begins here!

The Washington D.C. Summit


One of the highlights of the GIST Business Incubation program is the Washington D.C. Summit where all of the participants gather for a week of learning and networking. In the past we have partnered with top organizations to bring some of the best U.S. experts to lead these workshops. We also have the opportunity to meet with Department of State officials who have a vested interest in the success of the innovators. Every year this trip is updated with new features making it a truly unique experience. 

Who Should Participate?


This program is perfect for startups that are looking to take their innovations to the next level by getting mentoring, U.S. market expertise, and valuable business model training. All science and technology startups from the 130+ GIST eligible countries whose founder is 18 - 40 years of age are eligible to apply.

Please read the full eligibility requirements before applying. 


Important Dates

(All dates subject to change)

  • Applications open 1 December, 2023 - 28 February, 2024 (registration is now closed)
  • Participant selection 1 March - 1 April, 2024 
  • Program start date ~ 13 May, 2024


Cohort number 2 announcement: a second cohort will be selected in October of 2024 with a program start date of January 2025. If you have received an email indicating you are eligible for the second cohort, you do not need to apply again. 

Business Incubation Success Stories


Vamekh Kherkheulidze of Elven Technologies

Elven Technologies is a high-tech personal protection equipment (PPE) company. Our first product is a technologically-advanced full body fire-proof suit with a cooling system to keep firefighters safe in the line of duty and help save lives.

Rituparna Das of Hydrotech Solutions

Hydrotec Solutions Private Limited has designed a Smart water ATM Kiosk that purifies and dispenses clean drinking water on pay per use basis, using sustainable energy.

Yakau Buta of StringersHub

StringersHub is a marketplace that connects stringers—freelance videographers and eyewitnesses—and media outlets, globally. Top media outlets can purchase “hot” material from these stringers.

Business Incubations FAQs


What is the GIST Business Incubation Program?

GIST Business Incubation brings together the best international science & technology innovators and American businesses to increase cross-market access and to create opportunities for collaboration. While in residence at incubators across the United States, entrepreneurs have opportunities to make connections with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and build business relationships for potential partners and investors. GIST Business Incubation also helps American businesses gain awareness of global entrepreneurs, innovations and markets.

Who is the implementer? 

VentureWell implements the GIST Business Incubation Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. VentureWell is an organization based out of Western Massachusetts, USA whose mission is to foster collaboration among the best minds from research labs, classrooms, and beyond to advance innovation and entrepreneurship education and to provide unique opportunities for STEM students and researchers to fully realize their potential to improve the world. You can read more about VentureWell here.

How many people from my company can participate in the incubation?

Only one member from your team can participate in this program, and it must be the person who filled out the application for the program. No dependents will be allowed as part of the program. 

Where do I need to be from to participate?

You must be a citizen of one of the 130+ countries GIST serves. You do not need to be currently residing in that country to be eligible.

How old do participants need to be?

All applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 40 by the application deadline.

What language will the program be in?

You must be a proficient English speaker. This program will not include language interpretation. 

What kind of startups are allowed to apply?

All startups must be science or technology startups. 

Applications for businesses that fall under the following categories will not be accepted:

- Research projects with no demonstrable commercial potential

- Teams based at a charity or foundation (not-for-profit) organization

- Teams based at organizations that buy and resell technologies and other goods

We would like to submit as many applications as possible. Can we submit one per startup employee?

No. Only one application will be accepted for each startup.

How advanced does my startup need to be to get the most out of incubation?

You must have a valid, active business. This will be proven by you uploading proof of funding, proof of customer sales and/or proof of partnerships. We will not accept applications for startup ideas.

When is the deadline to apply?

The application deadline will be announced shortly.



When is the program?

Applications open 1 December, 2023 (early registration now open)
Application registration close 28 February, 2024
Participant selection 1 March - 1 April, 2024
Program start date ~ 13 May, 2024

What is the schedule of the program?

Coming soon!

What startup support services come with the program?

Each participant will receive support services provided and determined by their home incubator. In most locations you will be provided access to ongoing mentorship, access and support in making new business connections across the community, and other incubator/accelerator services as offered by each host group. There is no guarantee of any investment or additional funding.

What kind of visa will I get?

VentureWell and the U.S. Department of State will provide you with an offer letter as proof of your acceptance into this program. We will also work with a J-1 visa issuer to attempt to facilitate your visa issuance. You must get a J-1 visa to participate in this program - no other type of US visa will be eligible. Please read and understand all the J-1 visa requirements at the State Department’s website before applying for this program.

How will I pay for the program?

This program will subsidize your expenses for this experience. Program participants will receive a blend of support stipends and prepaid expenses for the duration of the program. 

You will be provided with a stipend for expenses (including travel) if you are accepted into this program. VentureWell will pay your living expenses and your incubator fees. You will also receive a stipend for other costs. Stipend payments are meant to offset incurred expenses that participation in the program might require. It is your responsibility to ensure the appropriate budgeting of this funding.

Note: All participants will receive the same amount of funding from VentureWell, but some people may get more as a grant and others will receive more as housing assistance, etc. This will be dependent on the location and home incubator of the participant.

Which incubator will be hosting me?

VentureWell is currently sourcing the incubators. Participants will not be able to ask for a specific incubator. 

Where will I live? 

Depending on the location of the incubator, you will live in long term hotels, short term apartments, or housing provided by the incubator. You may be sharing an apartment with another program participant, but all participants will have their own bedrooms. All participants are vetted and screened before acceptance into the program and being assigned to an apartment. More information will be provided to you when you get placed at an incubator.

Do I need health insurance? 

VentureWell will provide you with an emergency health insurance policy that can help with paying for emergency medical care while in the USA. More information will be provided when you are accepted into the program.

What happens if I do not complete the full program?

You will be required to sign a stipend agreement before attending the program. As a part of this, you are contractually obligated to complete the program. If you need to leave the program for any reason before its completion, you will immediately contact VentureWell. In the event you have to depart early due to non-compliance with program requirements, some portion of funds expended on your behalf will be required to be returned to VentureWell.


Participating Incubators


The following incubators have participated in the prior Business Incubation programs:

TechTown Detroit - Detroit, Michigan, USA

Purdue Foundry - West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

1871 - Chicago, Illinois, USA

mHub - Chicago, Illinois, USA

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation - Phoenix, Arizona, USA

University of Arizona Center for Innovation - Tuscon, Arizona, USA

The Station - Houston, Texas, USA

DuBose and DuBose - Cleveland, Ohio, USA

University of Memphis Research Foundation, Research Park- Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Project UK - Kansas City, USA

GIST Business Incubation | Resources

U.S. and Ukraine Unite Around Innovation in D.C.

Out of the forge of inordinate challenges comes a new era of connection between the innovation ecosystems of Ukraine and the United States. The GIST Initiative and the U.S. Department of State are proud to be a part of building this deeper connection and are working to support Ukrainian innovation as it builds a new, ever brighter future. 

Business Incubation Breaks New Ground

A cohort of founders from Bhutan is soon beginning their entrepreneurial journey in the United States, building experience and gaining insights that will take their ventures to the next level. 

Business Incubation Innovator Receives Highest Award

Business Incubation participant Alyona Glushko who spent three weeks at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation in Phoenix, AZ, developed a novel innovation for heart safety.

Global Entrepreneurs Conclude Business Incubation Program

The GIST Business Incubation Showcase and Reception held on November 21 at the Halcyon incubator in Washington, D.C. included networking and pitches in front of investors and U.S. business experts. 

Behind the Scenes of the First GIST Business Incubation Program

Nearly 30 innovative science and technology entrepreneurs representing startups from emerging economies worked at 10 U.S.-based incubators to learn how to expand their businesses into the United States market. 

Ukrainian Innovation Rises to The Challenge

GIST has supported Ukrainian innovation across multiple fronts, including direct support of multiple Innovation Hubs spread throughout the country, as well as supporting Ukrainian innovators in attending global ecosystem events. 

What is Business Incubation?

Learn about incubation programs and how to get the most out of them.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Read More.