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

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.

Past Catalyst Events

April 2023

APEC Catalyst | Elevating Women Climate Entrepreneurs

GIST's Catalyst Pitch Competition continues this time in San Francisco in November of 2023. Twenty nine entrepreneurs will receive in person training and compete for generous startup resources.

Learn more

catalyst apec women climate
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.

Learn more

catalyst 2021
October 2019

GIST APEC Catalyst Chile 2019

At the 2019 APEC summit in La Serena, Chile.

Learn more

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.

Learn more

catalyst 2017

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