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The GIST Technology Idea Competition 2019 for Innovative Startups

The GIST Tech-I Competition is an annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs from emerging economies worldwide. Aspiring innovators submit their ideas and startups online which are then reviewed by past competition finalists before they enter a global public vote to pick the top entrepreneurs who compete in the Tech-I finals.

For the 2019 competition, up to twenty-four finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Bahrain to showcase their venture and to receive intensive training. GIST Tech-I winners, selected by experts at GEC, win prizes, and receive one-on-one mentorship and training.

Since 2011, innovators from around the globe have showcased their science and technology ventures to the world through GIST Tech-I pitch competitions. Thousands of expert reviews have taken place and the online voting public has cast over 1 million votes in support of these talented young innovators.

The GIST Initiative is led by the U.S. Department of State, and the Tech-I competition is implemented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The GIST Tech-I competition field is broken down into two distinct groups, Idea Stage and Startup Stage. Applicants will compete within their stage to secure a spot at GIST Tech-I finals during GEC 2019 in Bahrain.


Eligibility Requirements for Applicant

Applicants must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements:

  1. 1. The applicant must be 18-40 years old on the application deadline, November 23, 2018.
  2. 2. The applicant must be a citizen of at least one of the 132 GIST-eligible emerging economies
  3. 3. The applicant must not hold dual-citizenship or permanent resident status in a non-GIST economy.
  4. 4. The applicant must not submit more than one application per GIST Tech-I competition year.
  5. 5. The applicant must not be a previous GIST Tech-I finalist who traveled to and competed in the GIST Tech-I Finals.


In addition to meeting the applicant requirements above, applications must to be for Ideas or Startups that meet ALL of the following requirements:

  1. 1. The application must be the original work of the Idea or Startup applicant.
  2. 2. The Idea or Startup must be developing an innovative science or technology solution with market potential in a GIST-eligible economy.
  3. 3. The Idea or Startup must be for-profit. Applications from non-profit ventures or NGOs are not eligible and will not be reviewed.
  4. 4. The Startup must be less than three years old.
  5. 5. The Idea or Startup must be, at least in part, based in a GIST-eligible economy.
  6. 6. The Idea or Startup must be developing or selling products and services that use its own innovations in science and technology. Applications from organizations that buy and resell technologies will not be reviewed.
  7. 7. The Idea or Startup must not submit more than one application per GIST Tech-I competition year.

Prizes and Benefits

All applicants:

– Opportunity to participate in webinars leading up to the application deadline. Example topics are communicating effectively, networking, and understanding your market.

– Global exposure. In previous years, semifinalists received upwards of 400,000 votes from all over the world and were featured by numerous local, national, and international media outlets. Several met or were mentioned by their heads of state.

– Marketing and networking support from the AAAS Team, including the provision of voting graphics, several webinars, and guidance on reaching out to media outlets.


– All-expenses-paid trip to Bahrain to pitch the idea or startup and network with entrepreneurs and investors at GEC 2019.

– Opportunity to attend several pre-GEC training webinars on topics such as pitching to investors, business models, and intellectual topic.

– Two days of intensive training and mentoring in Bahrain before the start of GEC.

– Opportunity to win seed capital and other prizes during final pitch contest.

– Prize amounts will be published closer to GEC.

– Three months of mentorship.


Application Process

To participate in the competition, aspiring science and technology entrepreneurs with either an idea or startup can apply here. Once the application deadline has passed, expert panels will review applications and select up to the top 100 applications to be semifinalists. The semifinalists will proceed to the online public voting phase determining the 24 Finalists who will participate in the finals in Bahrain to pitch their idea or startup during the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) for capital seed and other prizes.



Apply before November 23, 2018.

Read more here. FAQ available here.

Application Process