What is the GIST Startup Training?

The Investor Readiness Startup Training prepares growing startups from the Pacific Islands for investor engagement. During the 3-day intensive training program you will learn about and simulate due diligence conversations, integrating feedback into deal room materials in real time. By the end of the program, startups will be able to clearly articulate their investment needs, including the investment ask and milestones they hope to achieve for the round. They will take part in deep-dive conversations with investors and participate in a mock board meeting with money awarded to top performers.

Important Dates

This program will be conducted in Nadi, Fiji.

Application Window: April 19th - May 31, 2024

Application Selection: June 1st - June 15, 2024

Investor Readiness Startup Training: August 5, 2024


This program is designed for startups at the following stage in their startup journey:

  • Team identified and startup formed – Founders with a management team and key roles identified. 
  • High-impact interventions – Innovation solves a real problem felt by the customer, and has a compelling value proposition.
  • Early Market Validation – Validated customer segments and initial evidence of product-market fit. Articulation of economic value proposition and evidence of customer buy-in.
  • Novel Technology– A fundamentally new scientific or technology breakthrough being used for the first time in your setting.  If appropriate, provisional patents(s) filed.
  • Beyond Proof of Concept – Initial prototype developed and pilot studies/field trials underway. 
  • Ready to fundraise – Preparing for a round of equity investment within 12 months. 

Selected participants will be eligible to attend the 3-day, in-person workshop in Nadi, Fiji. Only one founder will be eligible to attend per team. The program will be taught by US and regional professionals with significant interaction with regional investors. 

Learn more about GIST's work in the Pacific!


To apply, log in to your GISTNetwork account and click the APPLY NOW button below. If you do not have an account yet, simply click the SIGN UP link at the top of this page to create one. If you have any issues with the process, please contact [email protected].




GIST Investor Readiness Startup Training FAQs


Q. Who is eligible for this program?

A. Applicants must meet the following criteria to be eligible for participation in this program: 
Be a citizen of: Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, or Vanuatu

-Startups led by individuals residing in eligible countries and/or with businesses based in eligible countries are particularly encouraged to apply.

-Be the founder of a science/technology company. Although companies in all science and technology industries are eligible to apply, we especially encourage applications from ag tech, climate tech, health tech, deep tech, ICT and STEM sectors. We also encourage women, LGBTQ+ and indigenous founders to apply.

-Be between the age of 18-40 years old, and must be able to both read and speak English proficiently. 

-Submit a complete application (described below in Application instructions)

-Application must be received by the submission deadline of May 31st, 2024.

-All materials submitted must be the original work of the applicants.

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

  • Research projects with no demonstrable commercial potential 
  • Startups in the ideation or concept phase
  • Teams based at a charity or foundation (not-for-profit) organization
  • Teams based at organizations that buy and resell technologies and other goods 

Q. Can I complete the application in a language other than English?

A. No. All application questions must be answered in English.

Q. Is knowledge of English required to participate?

A. All instructors will be native English speakers. You must be proficient enough in English to participate in the one-on-one meetings with the instructors. 

Q. What is the average age of selected participants?

A: The age of the selected participants is usually between the ages of 18 and 40.

Q: Do I need a fully working prototype to apply or will a proof of concept (very rough prototype) suffice? 

A: A fully-working prototype is not required. A proof of concept will suffice. The purpose of this program is to talk to potential future customers to help shape the initial minimum viable product.

Q: Do I need Intellectual Property (IP) to participate?

A: No.  But if you do have IP we will not ask you about it during the program nor will we expect you to share that information. This program is not about your technology - it is about the process of exploring market potential and whether you are solving a need in the marketplace.

Q: What specific measures will help prevent IP theft? 

A: IP information will not be shared by anyone during this program.

Q: Can the same person apply with multiple projects? 

A: Each person can only submit a single innovation.

Q: Are there any fees for participants in the program?

A: No. All fees are covered by the program.


  • Q. How do I apply?

    A. The APPLICATION IS AVAILABLE on this page from 19 April, 2024 - 31 May, 2024. Once it is available, click the APPLY NOW button, create an account on GISTNetwork.org, and complete the application. 

  • If you do not already have one, create an account on the GISTNetwork.org website. If you have any difficulties, please email [email protected]. Once the account is created (and verified - you will receive an email asking you to verify your email address), log in and go to the application from the program landing page.

  • The application requires two components: 
    1. Completed online application form, which includes demographic information, information regarding the development of your business, revenue, team composition, and growth plans.
    2. Pitch deck, which should be a PowerPoint presentation detailing:
      1. The problem you are solving with your product or service
      2. The solution you propose to address that problem
      3. Your next steps for developing your product/service/company
      4. Profiles of key team members
      5. Any other information you wish to include in your application
  • Each eligible application submitted will be reviewed by a panel of experts, including regional experts, scientific and technological experts, and innovation and entrepreneurship experts.

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