GIST ASEAN Startup Training & Pitch Competition

GIST Pitch Competitions have given hundreds of 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.

GIST Pitch Competitions strive to bring top innovators from around the globe to key entrepreneurial events where they not only can meet other high-performing innovators but are given the chance to pitch their solutions to an audience of STEM experts, investors, and policy makers. By hosting competitions at international events such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and Global Entrepreneurship Congress, GIST provides young innovators from emerging economies the exposure they need to raise capital, find new markets, and scale.

GIST Pitch Competitions also offer young entrepreneurs training and mentorship during the competition, and the opportunity to win startup resources from GIST partners such as Alice, Google, Microsoft, Dell, Amazon Web Services, and the U.S. Department of State.

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

(All dates subject to change)

  • Applications Open: 14 June, 2024 - 5 Aug, 2024 
  • Participant Selection: 5 Aug - 6 Sep, 2024 
  • Semifinalist Notifications: 9 Sep - 13 Sep, 2024 
  • Semifinals Virtual: 23 Sep - 30 Sep, 2024 
  • In-person Training and Finals in Singapore: 7-10 Oct, 2024


Program Description

GIST ASEAN Training & Pitch Competition (formerly called GIST Southeast Asia Training and Pitch Competition) is a 3-day program of accelerated, intensive training in the Lean Startup process. The program focuses on using agile customer discovery to identify and evaluate scalable opportunities, allowing participants to make informed decisions on the best approach for moving forward with commercialization of their innovation. Through the training, participants will be encouraged to engage with and understand the perspectives of potential customers in order to apply customer insights to the design of a product and/or business model.

Selected participants will be eligible to attend:

  • A half-day virtual pitch event
  • A three-day, in-person workshop in Singapore, culminating in a pitch event with generous awards for the top-scoring innovators from the virtual pitch round
  • Workshop will also include a GIST Masterclass
  • Potential for ongoing mentorship beyond the workshop


Eligibility Summary

The applicant must:

  • Be an citizen of:
    • Brunei Darussalam
    • Burma (Myanmar)
    • Cambodia
    • Indonesia
    • Lao PDR
    • Malaysia
    • Philippines
    • Singapore
    • Thailand
    • Timor-Leste
    • Vietnam
  • Be the founder of a science / technology startup with operations in the above economies
  • Be between the age of 18-40 years old
  • Submit a complete application



  • Intensive training in startup methodology & acceleration support
  • Opportunity to pitch to investors and expert judges
  • Access to business mentors





GIST ASEAN Pitch Competition FAQs

Q. How do I apply?

A. The APPLICATION IS AVAILABLE on this page from 14 June, 2024 - 2 Aug, 2024. Once it is available, click the APPLY NOW button, create an account on, and complete the application. 

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: Brunei Darussalam, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
  • 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 2 Aug, 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 instruction and 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 but recommended. A proof of concept will suffice. 

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

A: No.  But if you do have IP you may asked how you are protecting your IP.

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.



If you do not already have one, create an account on the 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 PDF presentation detailing:

  • The problem you are solving with your product or service
  • The solution you propose to address that problem
  • Your next steps for developing your product/service/company
  • Any other information you wish to include from 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.

Pitch Competition Success Stories

Ajaita Shah, Frontier Markets | India

Frontier Markets, is a last mile distribution solution for energy products with a focus on solar technology that empowers women. Frontier Markets gives women in India the tools they need to teach their communities about the benefits of solar power and sell solar products.

Selen Senal, ALGBIO | Turkey

ALGBIO treats industrial wastewater and flue gasses with microalgae and produces carbon negative biofuels (biogas, biojet/rocket fuel, bioethanol,biodiesel) and algal bioplastic from these wastes

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.

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."

Mark Musinguzi, Hya Biobioplastics | Uganda

Hya Bioplastics uses cassava starch and pulped fibers from banana pseudo stem to create biobased food packaging. Hya Bioplastics' range of food packaging, including fruit and vegetable trays, takeaway food boxes and disposable plates, are a more cost competitive alternative to petroleum-based plastic packaging.

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.

Mark Jamer, Rise Rural Philippines | Philippines

Our team, Rise Rural Philippines, is a social enterprise that helps address health inequity in rural areas in the Philippines through our innovation called Araw- Kalinga Box. Araw-Kalinga Box is a solar-powered medical box that helps medical professionals in off-grid areas provide healthcare services.

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.

Queenny Lopez, Anuka | Ecuador

Queenny founded Anuka, which uses microalgae to consume large amounts of carbon dioxide and cleans the air we breathe. The goal is to fix large amounts of CO2 present in the environment in a highly effective manner (100 times more than 1 tree). Queenny is from Ecuador, and is devoted to finding sustainable energy solutions. She was named the Outstanding Female Entrepreneur at the GIST 2019 Tech-I competition at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

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