What is GIST Business Incubation?
As a U.S. Department of State initiative, GIST 2022 Ukraine Business Incubation brings together the best Ukrainian science and technology innovators and American businesses to increase cross-market access and to create opportunities for collaboration. While in residence at an American incubator, entrepreneurs have opportunities to make connections with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and build business relationships for potential partners and investors. GIST Business Incubation also helps American businesses gain awareness of Ukrainian entrepreneurs, innovations and markets.
Who Should Participate?
This program is perfect for Ukrainian startups that are looking to take their innovations to the next level by getting mentoring, U.S. market expertise, and valuable business model training. All Ukrainian science and technology startups whose founder is 18 - 40 years of age are eligible to apply. Please read the full eligibility requirements before applying.
If you missed the information session you can still watch the video of it here. We provide an overview of the program and answer questions from innovators.
Business Incubations FAQs
What is the GIST Business Incubation Program?
GIST Business Incubation brings together the best international science & technology innovators and American businesses to increase cross-market access and to create opportunities for collaboration. While in residence at incubators across the United States, entrepreneurs have opportunities to make connections with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and build business relationships for potential partners and investors. GIST Business Incubation also helps American businesses gain awareness of global entrepreneurs, innovations and markets.
Who is the implementer?
VentureWell implements the GIST Business Incubation Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State. VentureWell is an organization based out of Western Massachusetts, USA whose mission is to foster collaboration among the best minds from research labs, classrooms, and beyond to advance innovation and entrepreneurship education and to provide unique opportunities for STEM students and researchers to fully realize their potential to improve the world. You can read more about VentureWell here.
How many people from my company can participate in the incubation?
Only one member from your team can participate in this program, and it must be the person who filled out the application for the program. No dependents will be allowed as part of the program.
Where do I need to be from to participate?
You must be a citizen of Ukraine. You do not need to be currently residing in Ukraine to be eligible.
How old do participants need to be?
All applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 40 by the application deadline.
What language will the program be in?
You must be a proficient English speaker. This program will not include language interpretation.
What kind of startups are allowed to apply?
All startups must be science or technology startups.
Applications for businesses that fall under the following categories will not be accepted:
- Research projects with no demonstrable commercial potential
- Teams based at a charity or foundation (not-for-profit) organization
- Teams based at organizations that buy and resell technologies and other goods
We would like to submit as many applications as possible. Can we submit one per startup employee?
No. Only one application will be accepted for each startup.
How advanced does my startup need to be to get the most out of incubation?
You must have a valid, active business. This will be proven by you uploading proof of funding, proof of customer sales and/or proof of partnerships. We will not accept applications for startup ideas.
When is the deadline to apply?
The application deadline for this program is now 12 August at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
When is the program?
The program will run for 6 months. Participants will have a rolling start date (mid September-early October), based on when they can get their visa. They will then stay in the United States for 6 months.
VentureWell reserves the right to make minor modifications to this schedule where necessary.
What is the schedule of the program?
You will complete your incubation at your assigned home incubator. You will work with your home incubator to set your own goals for that time. At one point during the incubation, all the participants will be brought to Washington D.C. to be introduced to the local ecosystem, meet U.S. government officials, and present their startup during a showcase. Dates for the Washington D.C. portion of this program are TBD.
What startup support services come with the program?
Each participant will receive support services provided and determined by their home incubator. In most locations you will be provided access to ongoing mentorship, access and support in making new business connections across the community, and other incubator/accelerator services as offered by each host group. There is no guarantee of any investment or additional funding.
What kind of visa will I get?
VentureWell and the U.S. Department of State will provide you with an offer letter as proof of your acceptance into this program. We will also work with a J-1 visa issuer to attempt to facilitate your visa issuance.
How will I pay for the program?
This program will subsidize your expenses for this experience. Program participants will receive a blend of support stipends and prepaid expenses for the duration of the program.
You will be provided with a stipend for expenses (including travel) if you are accepted into this program. VentureWell will pay your living expenses and your incubator fees. You will also receive a monthly stipend for other costs. Stipend payments are meant to offset incurred expenses that participation in the program might require. It is your responsibility to ensure the appropriate budgeting of this funding.
Note: All participants will receive the same amount of funding from VentureWell, but some people may get more as a grant and others will receive more as housing assistance, etc. This will be dependent on the location and home incubator of the participant.
How many participants will be at each incubator?
Each incubator will host 4-7 participants.
Which incubator will be hosting me?
VentureWell is currently sourcing incubators in different startup ecosystems across the United States. Participants will be placed at incubators based on the needs of their startup. Participants will not be able to ask for a specific incubator.
Where will I live?
Depending on the location of the incubator, you will live in long term hotels, short term apartments, or housing provided by the incubator. You may be sharing an apartment with another program participant, but all participants will have their own bedrooms. All participants are vetted and screened before acceptance into the program and being assigned to an apartment. More information will be provided to you when you get placed at an incubator.
Do I need health insurance?
VentureWell will provide you with an emergency health insurance policy that can help with paying for emergency medical care while in the USA. More information will be provided when you are accepted into the program.
What happens if I do not complete the full program?
You will be required to sign a stipend agreement before attending the program. As a part of this, you are contractually obligated to complete the program. If you need to leave the program for any reason before its completion, you will immediately contact VentureWell. In the event you have to depart early due to non-compliance with program requirements, some portion of funds expended on your behalf will be required to be returned to VentureWell.
Ukrainian Startup Successes
Over GIST’s 10 year history, more than 200 Ukrainian entrepreneurs and supporters have completed GIST programs. Read more about a few of our Ukrainian entrepreneurs below.
GIOS is designing an interactive platform for the delivery of remote and blended learning. In addition to keeping students engaged in the educational process, the platform aims to support teachers in organizing remote and hybrid teaching by providing them with a flexible course builder, interactive material library, assessment, and analytics.
GIST Innovates Ukraine 2021
GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition 2021
Lixbley is a software company that has designed the LixB Rideshare app, which facilitates ride sharing with the goal of reducing the number of cars on the roads.
GIST Innovates Ukraine 2021
iCardy is developing a product that detects hidden atrial fibrillation in real time without the internet—detecting AFib more quickly than other products, with an accuracy rate greater than 99%.
GIST Business Incubation 2019
GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition 2021
WheelKeep is a team of cyclists who aim to bring innovative smart bicycle accessories to market. Their first product is a bike tracking device to track stolen bicycles. They participated in the GIST Innovates Ukraine 2021 program.
GIST Business Incubation | Resources
Business Incubation Breaks New Ground
A cohort of founders from Bhutan is soon beginning their entrepreneurial journey in the United States, building experience and gaining insights that will take their ventures to the next level.
Business Incubation Innovator Receives Highest Award
Business Incubation participant Alyona Glushko who spent three weeks at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation in Phoenix, AZ, developed a novel innovation for heart safety.
Global Entrepreneurs Conclude Business Incubation Program
The GIST Business Incubation Showcase and Reception held on November 21 at the Halcyon incubator in Washington, D.C. included networking and pitches in front of investors and U.S. business experts.
Behind the Scenes of the First GIST Business Incubation Program
Nearly 30 innovative science and technology entrepreneurs representing startups from emerging economies worked at 10 U.S.-based incubators to learn how to expand their businesses into the United States market.