To empower innovators around the world, finding science and technology solutions to the most pressing global challenges of tomorrow and today.
10 years of connecting and engaging innovators across the world.
GIST empowers science and technology entrepreneurs to create successful startups that solve local and global challenges in addition to creating jobs. Connecting American businesses with premier foreign entrepreneurs generates opportunities for both.
GIST has mentored over 15,000 entrepreneurs worldwide and empowered over 30 community based entrepreneurship meet-up groups with over 5,500 participants.
The 900,000+ online GIST community at GISTNetwork.org and social media help to reach entrepreneurs in all corners of the world from Indonesia to Afghanistan to Bosnia & Herzegovina to Colombia and beyond.
The GIST community grows through both in-person and online activities that infuse learning skills, mentoring, and creating a network of connected entrepreneurs for support.
Our programs are uniquely designed to connect the most exciting innovators worldwide with the best of American expertise, mentorship, and opportunities.
GIST online interactive programs have directly connected over 40,000 viewers to American experts for their questions to be answered in real time on a variety of entrepreneurship topics, such as mentorship and seeking external investment.
"For the US, [GIST] provides an opportunity for market access, foreign investment, and joint ventures that allow companies to partner and expand to global markets. As an investor, tax payer and entrepreneur, GIST is a great medium to grow businesses, increase market opportunity for US and international businesses and share best practices amongst entrepreneurs.”
- Melissa Bradley
The GIST Stars
GIST innovators come from all regions of the globe but they share the common desire to make their communities and the world a better place. They are science and technology entrepreneurs working locally but with an eye on the larger landscape. Their companies are both viable and impactful. Their solutions are changing the world.
Nermin Sa’d Founder, Handasiyat & Smart Detection Bra, Jordan
GIST winner Nermin is one of the “100 Most Powerful Arab Women” due to her revolutionary online engineering platform empowering socially restricted women engineers to meet the engineering deficit in the Middle East.
“Everyone has a turning point in his life, and in my business life GIST was my turning point.” ~ Nermin Sa'd
Tonee Ndungu, Kytabu, Inc., Kenya
Tonee is the founder and director of Kytabu Inc., an Ed- Tech company based in Nairobi, and the co-founder of The Nailab, a Kenyan tech-company incubator in 2009. Kytabu is a textbook subscription application for android tablets. Reducing the cost of a book by more than 40%, users can buy books on a daily, weekly, monthly, school term or annual subscription. Tonee won 1st place in the 2013 GIST Tech-I competition.
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."
Hoang Dao Xuan, Monkey Junior, Vietnam
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.
Sadaf Naz, Her Ground, Pakistan
Her Ground is committed to helping women get the products they need, for topics they’re usually too uncomfortable to talk about. Her Ground is an online subscription service that delivers feminine hygiene products to users’ doorsteps every month.
Isaac Sesi, Sesi Technologies, Ghana
Isaac Sesi decided to commercialize the output of a research project he worked on as a Research Engineer at his former university, KNUST.
After learning about the pressing global problem of post-harvest losses and realizing the impact this simple technology could make in the lives of smallholder farmers, he decided to found Sesi Technologies to put this technology in the hands of the 33 million smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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.
Where We Are
• Innovation Hubs
See below for our list of countries and Innovation Hubs (bolded).
Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
The Middle East
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine
GIST has been a proud advocate of STEM innovators across the world but especially those that have been traditionally under-represented in science and technology endeavors. Through on-the-ground and virtual trainings, mentorship, and competitions, GIST provides opportunities for innovators to grow and showcase their impactful solutions. The quality of the GIST programs has yielded not just high numbers of participants but also high numbers of successful ventures.
gone on to
10 million women
GISTNetwork.org has a gender
parity ratio of
51% women to
Number of GIST
GIST is founded with the goal of promoting science and technology innovation amongst parters across the world.
Our first startup training, used as an exploration of the format, takes place in the Maghreb in 2012.
Our first startup training to feature a pitch competition occurred in March of 2012 in Turkey with four additional trainings in Malaysia, Algeria, West Africa, and Indonesia.
GIST runs our Tech-I Pitch Competition at the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.
GIST Tech-I Pitch Competition brought innovators from around the globe to the heart of entrepreneurship in the U.S.: Silicon Valley.
GIST Masterclass Series brings U.S. experts in entrepreneurship to a specific country for face-to-face learning.
GIST's second type of pitch competition met innovators where they were: at the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India.
GIST Investors series begins with in-person trainings in Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, and Vietnam.
GIST Tech-I Pitch Competition 2018 culminates in Istanbul, Turkey.
GIST's Business Incubation program bridges the divide by bringing top global innovators to the U.S. for intensive trainings with incubators.
Innovators at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit competed for the top prize a GIST's second Catalyst event.
GIST's newest program, Innovates, brought an intensive 10-week accelerator program to both Ukraine and Bhutan.
GIST turns 10, celebrates with a variety of events including the GIST Catalyst Virtual Pitch Competition.
The first 10 years of GIST have been an incredible journey. The next 10 will be even better.
“We believe entrepreneurs can create jobs that fortify relationships between countries, build global markets, and help fulfill the dreams of all who desire the freedom to make of their lives what they will.”
- Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
Over the last decade, GIST has grown and shifted to meet the needs of innovators all over the world. The world has changed in many ways; technology has made enormous strides, with new advancements emerging universally. While there has been enormous good, there are also challenges that are more pressing than ever. Outcomes for much of the world remain deeply unequal, the climate is changing rapidly, and a pandemic has altered the way much of the world does business. GIST remains ready to empower innovators to meet these challenges, and eager to do our part to uplift the many economies around the world ready to help solve them.
From totally reinventing our pitch competition to hosting our first Virtual Catalyst this year, investing in newly emerging deep technologies, and elevating innovators who are making the world a more equitable, resilient place, GIST is committed to maintaining and expanding American values in the world of science and technology in the coming decade, where it will be more necessary than ever. We look forward to embarking on this next step in our journey, and we couldn’t be more excited by what we’ll build together.
Get in on the action! Sign up for the GIST List newsletter. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Have a great memory, or an inspiring thought to share for the future? Share your thoughts and memories with the hashtag #GIST10 as we go into our next decade, together!
From the entire GIST team, thank you to our global family for an incredible decade, and together we’ll continue building great things.
Now, let’s get to work!