GIST Technology Idea (Tech-I) Competition 2016 – Win a trip to Silicon Valley and up to $70,000!

GIST Technology Idea (Tech-I) Competition 2016 – Win a trip to Silicon Valley and up to $70,000!

Deadline: January 29, 2016

Applications for the 2016 GIST Technology Idea (Tech-I) competition are now open. Tech-I is part of the GIST Initiative, an annual global pitch competition, which seeks to identify and select, train, and encourage exciting young scientists, engineers, and great minds to build businesses around the world. The GIST Tech-I Competition offers young science and technology entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete for mentorship, training, and seed capital to advance their ventures.

The competition is organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the U.S. Department of State.

About GIST

The Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative led by the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), brings together science & technology (S&T), innovation, and entrepreneurship to strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems and to empower individual innovators.  GIST equips young men and women around the world with the skills they need to become successful entrepreneurs by helping them turn their ideas into new ventures that can transform their communities.

Competition Categories

Science and Technology related entrepreneurs may apply for one of two tracks: the Idea Stage and the Startup Stage.

  1. Idea Stage
    • The entrepreneur has research or a technology with commercialization potential.
    • The entrepreneur has not started a business yet and is willing to start a business.
    • The entrepreneur has defined the qualifications of a management team needed to execute the idea.
    • The entrepreneur has started to identify advisors.
    • The entrepreneur has started market research.
  2. Startup Stage
    • The venture is for profit
    • The venture is less than three years old from date of startup.
    • The venture has some funding already—either through revenue, through external financing (from public or private sources), or a combination of both.
    • The venture has a product or service that is currently in a testing or pilot stage and that can be made available for commercial release.


The top 30 applicants will be identified through expert review and global public voting, and will receive:

  • An all-expense-paid trip to the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Silicon Valley for the final round of the Tech-I Competition.
  • International visibility from pitching their ideas at GES 2016
  • The chance to compete for at least $70,000 in seed capital
  • Extensive training and mentoring before the GES, up to three months of mentorship after the GES, and a year’s membership to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


This year, citizens from 135 countries and emerging economies spanning Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America are eligible to apply with an innovative science and technology idea or startup in any sector.

  • Applicants must be citizens of a GIST eligible country (see below).
  • Applicants must be between 18-40 years old on January 15, 2016,
  • Applicants should either have a business in or be willing to start a business in a GIST eligible country
  • The competition is seeking proposals from all areas of science and technology innovation (examples include: agriculture, education, energy, environment, health, information communication technologies/ICT, oceans, and space science).
  • For applications in the Startup Stage category: the Startup company must be, at least in part, in a GIST country or emerging economy
  • For applications in the Idea Stage category: The applicant must intend to pursue their idea as a business in a GIST country or emerging economy
  • Teams/individuals may only enter the competition once. For a team application, each team must select one member who will be the applicant for the team in the competition
  • The applicant must hold a valid passport of a GIST eligible emerging economy and be eligible to travel to participate in the training days and GES, if selected as a finalist
  • All prize winners of the GIST Tech-I Competition must have access to or the ability to obtain a bank account that is able to accept wire transfers in order to receive funds.

Applications that fall under the following categories will not be accepted:

  1. Research projects with no demonstrable commercial potential – Teams based at a charity or foundation (not-for-profit) organization
  2. Finalists from previous GIST Tech-I competitions who traveled and competed in the GIST Tech-I Finals. Prize winners from I-Dare competitions
  3. Teams based at organizations that buy and resell technologies and other goods

Eligible Countries

Emerging economies eligible to participate in the GIST initiative are:

  • Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola*, Argentina* Armenia*, Azerbaijan
  • Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan*, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana,  Brunei, Bulgaria*, Burkina Faso, Burundi
  • Cambodia*, Cameroon*, Cape Verde*, Central African Republic*, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoros Islands, Congo (Democratic Republic of)*, Congo (Republic of), Costa Rica*, Cote d’Ivoire
  • Djibouti, Dominica*, Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador*, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
  • Fiji*
  • Gabon*, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana*
  • Haiti*, Honduras, Hungary*
  • Indonesia, Iraq
  • Jamaica, Jordan
  • Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati*, Kosovo*, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos*, Lebanon, Lesotho*, Liberia, Libya*
  • Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali*, Marshall Islands*, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia*, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma)*
  • Namibia, Nepal*, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan, Palau*, Panama, Paraguay*, Papua New Guinea*, Peru, Philippines
  • Qatar
  • Romania, Rwanda
  • Samoa*, Sao Tome and Principe*, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles*, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands*, Somalia*, South Africa, South Sudan*, Sri Lanka*, St. Lucia*, St. Vincent and the Grenadines*, Suriname*, Swaziland*, Syria*
  • Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste*, Togo, Tonga*, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu*
  • Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu*, Vietnam
  • West Bank and Gaza*
  • Yemen
  • Zambia, Zimbabwe*.

Application Process

  • Applicants are required to submit a short summary of their product, research, service, or concept, followed by a larger 750-word executive summary describing the proposed work and the science and technology behind it.
  • Applicants will also provide a 90-second promotional pitch video to showcase their innovation.

For more information, visit the GIST Tech-I Competition.