Catalyst Impact


Startups showcased


Amount of funding awarded


Countries represented

Catalyst Overview

GIST Catalyst offers young STEM entrepreneurs the opportunity to elevate their pitch and showcase their scale-up on a global stage, while receiving valuable startup training from American academics who are leaders in the field of entrepreneurship. GIST Catalyst has helped innovators secure funding for their ventures, collaborate with the U.S. private sector, and build new partnerships.


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 summit in La Serena, Chile, and virtually, in 2021 at the GIST Catalyst Virtual Pitch Competition. Catalyst has given more than 80 entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their scale-ups to high-impact investors, policy makers, and leaders in the U.S. private sector, and compete for generous startup resources.

Catalyst Success Stories

Mark Musinguzi of Hya Bioplastics

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.

Christina York of SpellBound

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.

Ajaita Shah of Frontier Markets

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.

Past Catalyst Events

November 2022


Top women innovators from the APEC region, pitching their solutions to the world's most pressing needs.

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apec cat thumb
November 2021

GIST Catalyst Virtual Pitch Competition

A global, virtual event with more than two dozen countries represented.

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catalyst 2021
October 2019

GIST APEC Catalyst Chile 2019

At the 2019 APEC summit in La Serena, Chile.

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apec chile
June 2019

GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition 2019

At the 2019 GES in the Hague, Netherlands. 

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catalyst 2019
November 2017

GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition 2017

At the 2017 GES in Hyderabad, India.

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catalyst 2017

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