What is GIST Catalyst?

Catalyst has given more than 80 entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their innovation to high-impact investors, policy makers, and leaders in the U.S. private sector, while competing for generous startup resources. Launched during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 in Hyderabad, India, the competition has been repeated in 2019 (at the GES in The Hague, Netherlands), the 2019 APEC Forum in La Serena, Chile, in 2021 at the GIST Catalyst Virtual Pitch Competition, and in Thailand in 2022 with the specific goal of uplifting and advancing women in innovation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. This year's competition promises to continue in the footsteps of past events, offering valuable learning and networking opportunities to the participants and showcasing solutions that the world needs now. 



Important Dates

16 Quarterfinalist entrepreneurs were accepted for in-person training in San Francisco, California as part of this program. From the Quarterfinalists, 12 Semifinalists were selected to pitch to compete in the Finals. Five Finalists will be selected to participate in the Finals event.

Application Window: June 22-Aug 20

Application Selection: September 18

Online Quarterfinals: September 25- 27

Startup Training and Gender Training: November 9-12

Semifinals: November 13 (5:00-6:30 PM Pacific Time)

Finals: November 14





Cohort Announcement

We are excited to announce the Semifinalists that will be competing in San Francisco for a place in the Finals. These innovators bring a diverse set of solutions to pressing regional and global issues. Learn more about their projects.


Hear from Catalyst 2022 Finalists Melissa Chavana of sinCarbono from Mexico and Nadea Nabilla of Azura Indonesia from Indonesia as they explain the impact winning Catalyst will have on their startup.

Eligibility Summary

The applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of one of the above mentioned economies
  • Be the founder of a science / technology startup with operations in that same economy
  • Be between the age of 18-40 years old
  • Have not previously participated in in-person GIST activities such as Catalyst pitch competitions, Business Incubation, Tech-I, or Startup Trainings.
  • Submit a complete application
  • Startups led by women, and startups that directly advance the interests of women in the economies where they operate are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • This program’s location and dates are subject to change. GIST staff will inform applicants at the earliest opportunity if such changes do occur.

Benefits of Participation

  • Intensive training in startup methodology & acceleration support
  • Access to business mentors
  • Opportunity to win startup resources
  • Networking opportunities with entrepreneurs, government representatives, and other entrepreneurship ecosystem members

Catalyst Impact


Startups showcased


Amount of funding awarded


Countries represented


Catalyst Success Stories

Rahinah Ibrahim, Oceanori | Malaysia

Oceanori's from Malaysia has created an independent sewage treatment plant (also known as iSTP) for rural communities that do not have centralized sewage collection and treatment. The treatment plant is one of the smallest on the market, easily transportable by boat, can fit underneath the toilets of rural water-based communities and treats sewage to meet the specs of Malaysia’s National Water Services Commission.

Jay Arneil Gajudo, Galansiyang | Philippines

Galansiyang is a forestry support services startup that aims to help the mining industry speed up the process of mine rehabilitation by providing them with drone and IoT technology to automate forestry, including aerial seeding for reforestation and forest monitoring.

Cynthia Villar, MiBosillo | Peru

Co-founder of MiBolsillo, Cynthia Villar participated in the 2018 GIST APEC Startup Training in Brisbane, Australia where she won the Outstanding Woman Entrepreneur award.

MiBolsillo is the first personal trainer in your phone that automates the way you organize your finances and access financial services.

"I am beyond thankful to everyone at this amazing organization and for having impacted my life as well as the lives of so many other women entrepreneurs."

Andrea Paz-Lacavex, SPORA | Mexico

SPORA, an award-winning start-up funded by international foundations including Sustainable Alliance. SPORA is an ocean solution with the mission to find and provide a scalable reforestation technique for fishermen cooperatives. 

Hoang Dao Xuan, Monkey Junior | Viet Nam

Hoang is the founder of Monkey Junior, currently the highest ranked language literacy app in the Android app store and Google Play, and 2016 GIST Tech-I winner. Monkey Junior provides a comprehensive curriculum to systematically teach young children to read from single words to phrases and complete sentences. Each lesson lasts for 5-7 minutes. Children can take one or more lessons each day. The program is available in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, and Vietamese. Hoang said he witnessed his company quadruple in size within months of participating in GIST. Additionally, he was recognized by the Vietnamese Government for his outstanding contributions following GIST Tech-I.

Christina York, SpellBound | USA

SpellBound, has a mission is to use immersive 3D technology to increase patient cooperation with treatment, including patient education and procedure simulation. SpellBound is now used as a tool in top hospitals across the United States as well as globally in countries like Kenya and Japan.

Alejandro Valdéz, Pro-Viden | Mexico

Pro-Viden is an IoT-based automation system for aquaculture farms, which allows the farmer to prevent diseases and increase production. The device moves autonomously through the water while it performs measurements of pH, oxygen, temperature and other parameters. The farmer can see this information, remotely and at all times, through a web platform and app.

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