GIST TechConnect: Develop Your Roadmap to Startup Success!


This TechConnect features a worksheet for you to use while watching the discussion. The worksheet will ask you to assess your startup's stage in its overall journey and then ask you to think critically about how to address specific stages by using your network/community. 

Click to Download the Worksheet 


Here at GIST, we are constantly evolving to meet the ever changing needs of innovators all over the world. We know that these are unprecedented times and thus we are working around the clock to bring you the resources you really need to succeed. To further accomplish this, for this quarter’s TechConnect we have partnered with a dynamic GIST Innovation Hub, our in-country resource hubs for entrepreneurs, to help you develop a tried-and-true roadmap to startup success!

55 Group, our IHub out of Tajikistan, began as a collective of entrepreneurs who came together to support their country’s relatively young innovation ecosystem. They’ll be sharing their expertise, gained by pioneering incubator programs, on the steps early-stage startups go through to build marketable and scalable products. 55 Group will join our U.S-based expert panelists to walk you through the steps to plan out your startup’s roadmap to success.

So, whether it’s team building, fundraising, marketing, or product development building a strong network to utilize can be critical for startup success. But how do you build a strong network? What resources might already be available to you? And then, once the network is built, how do you use that network to achieve your goals? We’ll be answering those questions, and more, to give you the tools to build your own network and maximize its potential. We’ll also be providing you with the same worksheet that we give to the startups that go through our training programs so that you can map out your plan in real-time. During this interactive session, our expert panelists will explain the benefits of a strong network and walk you through their recommendations for how to activate it. You can use the worksheet to plan your own path forward to success. Join us for this interactive live event!


Meet the Panelists

Dawn Batts
TechTown Detroit
Dr. Dawn Batts has over two decades of experience analyzing business opportunities, developing and implementing strategic plans, and managing their subsequent operations and compliance processes. Her diverse professional experiences and extensive research have led to her solutions-based approach in addressing the myriad of factors causing the economic disparity between women and men. Dawn's research investigates how macro narratives influence women's perceptions and experiences of gender equality in the United States and China. As a Capital Strategist for Tech Town -- Detroit's entrepreneurship hub -- Dawn secures and aligns resources that help Detroit-based entrepreneurs achieve the vision and goals of their businesses. She extends that work as a co-founder of Commune Angels, a diverse community of investors who seed scalable consumer, enterprise and life science companies that transform lives.


Arun Venkatesan
Villgro USA
Arun Venkatesan is co-founder and CEO of Villgro USA, a global network of social enterprise incubators. Up until June 2019, he was CTO of Villgro India, leading their health sector investments. He has over 15 years of experience in materials R&D, device development and forward integration of technology into tangible, marketable entities. He has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and has done post-doctoral research in fuel-cell materials development and micro-fuel-cell fabrication. After about 2 decades of product development work in the US, he worked in India for 7 years. He has worked for various small-scale and start-up companies both in the US and India, in a product development capacity leveraging academic research groups and independent development teams.




Ravshan Kurbanov
55 Group
Ravshan Kurbanov is the CEO of management and investment company Fifty Five Group. He controls all the processes that are held in the company. Prior to becoming CEO, he held various positions at Fifty Five Group, in particular the position of managing director and risk manager. Fifty Five Group has a huge impact on the development of entrepreneurship in Tajikistan and Mr. Kurbanov is one of those who are always actively involved in initiatives of startup ecosystem development. With his help, various events were organized, which took place both at the level of Tajikistan and the region as a whole. The projects covered all segments of the population and provided participants with new knowledge and opportunities that they could use in their entrepreneurial activities. Active work in projects of international organizations helped Mr. Kurbanov to become a national consultant for UNDP on entrepreneurship development. He is an Associate Professor of Political Science.




Ivy Schultz
Columbia University Engineering School
Ivy Schultz is the Director of Entrepreneurship programs where she manages initiatives to foster entrepreneurship in Columbia engineers, linking them to the ecosystem of the university, the city, and beyond. This includes preparation for funding through presentations, venture competitions, grants, and other startup activities. Ivy runs international entrepreneurship programs for the School, with programming in India and Tunisia. She also serves as an instructor for the National Science Foundation I-Corps program through New York’s NYCRIN node. She has actively consulted with startups and larger organizations since 2009, helping them communicate technical ideas and describe their brands to customers, partners, and investors. She is also interested in technology policy and law as it relates to startups. She has a MA degree in Communications at Georgetown, focused on technology and international business.


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About GIST TechConnect

GIST TechConnects provide entrepreneurs around the world with direct access to leading U.S. experts from business and academia, but without the travel and other related costs. Young science and technology entrepreneurs can engage with experts and the larger GIST community to learn about best business practices and startup resources.

  • GIST TechConnects are live webinars in which a panel of experts and thought-leaders discuss topics of importance to early-stage, science and technology innovators from across the globe.  
  • Viewers of TechConnects can ask questions directly to the panel of speakers through an accompanying chat-space next to the TechConnect video.
  • TechConnects are regularly live-translated into French and Spanish to ensure that viewers from across the globe can engage and benefit from the program.
  • GIST TechConnects provides entrepreneurs around the world with direct access to leading U.S. experts from business and academia, but without the travel and other related costs. 
  • Young science and technology entrepreneurs can engage with experts and the larger GIST community to learn about best business practices and startup resources.
  • In addition to the panel of experts answering questions, there is a Chatspace Expert responding to all questions and comments made in the chatspace - providing insights, sharing critical resources, and enabling conversation among innovators across the globe.


Why you should host a viewing group and promote the TC’s to your network:

  • Increased Knowledge: Innovators from across the globe get unparalleled access to experts to answer their burning questions about building and growing a startup. From how to raise an investment, to understanding marketing best practices, innovators can gain important insights and knowledge.
  • Connecting to broader GIST network: You’ll be able to connect to the broader global GIST network and get access to additional resources, such as GIST Pitch Competitions, GIST Startup Trainings, and access to the entire GIST TechConnect video library.
  • Engaging your local ecosystem: Hosting a viewing group is also a great opportunity to engage your community's innovators--viewing groups often host a local speaker series or event in tandem with the GIST TechConnect, to capitalize on having all of your innovators together.
  • Exposure to GIST community: Photos of viewing groups are highlighted at the end of each live TechConnect, which is watched by viewers across the globe.


If you plan to host a viewing group please contact Genesis Lodise who will guide you through the TechConnect hosting best practices.

If you have questions about GIST programming please send us an email at [email protected].

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