Evidence of Impact: Learn About GIST Accomplishments in the New Impact Report

Evidence of Impact: Learn About GIST Accomplishments in the New Impact Report

November 21, 2019


Since 2011, the U.S. Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative has made an incredible impact empowering science and technology startups in over 130 emerging economies around the world. The program serves as a bridge for U.S. businesses to discover the most promising global entrepreneurs and innovators.

GIST has released an Impact Report to highlight the key accomplishments of the initiative to date. The easy-to-read report provides a deeper look into how the GIST initiative positively impacts the lives of entrepreneurs, investors, and American businesses.    

Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll discover in the Impact Report.                                                                                                                       

The report profiles some of the GIST-supported science and technology startups who have gone on to generate over $250 million in revenue. For example, Hind Hobeika, founder of Instabeat, who is an award-winning entrepreneur developing the first waterproof heads-up display for swimmers. In 2011, Hind won the GIST/MIT Pan Arab Business Plan Competition. Winning that competition helped jump-start Instabeat in Lebanon and San Francisco. Her company has raised a total of $6M from investors found as a result of connections made through the GIST Network.



The report also highlights examples of the benefits American companies have gained through GIST partnerships with the private sector. According to Stacey W. Jackson, Business Development Manager of Amazon Web Services, “[Our] partnership with the GIST program has allowed us to engage with a diverse set of talented entrepreneurs and policy-makers from around the world, and has accelerated our market expansion and platform adoption across emerging markets. AWS employees also benefit from the exposure and professional development opportunities that GIST global programs provide.”



The report showcases how GIST empowers science and technology entrepreneurs to create successful startups that solve local and global challenges in addition to creating jobs—and how connecting American businesses with premier foreign entrepreneurs generates opportunities for both. To date, GIST has mentored over 15,000 entrepreneurs worldwide and empowered over 30 community-based entrepreneurship meet-up groups with over 5,500 participants.



The report shares several GIST Alumni success stories. Dr. Iffat Zafar Aga from Pakistan is one example. Her company, doctHERS,  disrupted the healthcare market throughout Pakistan by creating a healthcare marketplace that connects home-based female doctors to millions of underserved patients in real-time leveraging telemedicine. Iffat was also the recipient of the “Best in Health” prize at the 2015 GIST Tech-Innovation Pitch Competition. Since winning, Iffat has attended MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program and launched her second startup, Sehat Kahani. Sehat Kahani is an all-woman digital healthcare network of over 1,500 female doctors that have worked with over 1 million beneficiaries.



The GIST program will continue to support startups in emerging economies and connect the American business community with leading global entrepreneurs and innovators. According to Marcia Bernicat, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, U.S. Department of State, “GIST is able to continually scan the horizon to find the best science and technology innovators, and connect them to American businesses and investors.” She adds, “GIST also works to support the economic prosperity and stability of the origin economies by supplying critical know-how, networks, and resources. By strengthening local communities, GIST helps to expand the network of global innovators and their connection to the United States.”

The Impact Report highlights a few of the many accomplishments of the GIST Initiative. Download the full report to learn more about how GIST impacts global entrepreneurs, investors, developing economies and American businesses. You’re also invited to share the report with your network. Be sure to tag GIST on Facebook and Twitter when you do, and use the hashtag #GISTNetwork.

Learn more about GIST programs and GIST partners.

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