GIST Tech-I Competition 2018 (For Young People in Science & Tech)

The GIST Technology Idea (Tech-I) Competition is an annual competition for science and technology entrepreneurs from 136 emerging economies around the world. The competition is part of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative, led by the U.S. Department of State. The GIST Tech-I Competition is implemented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This year, the competition will challenge former GIST Tech-I finalists (GIST Tech-I Alumni) to lead and mentor the next generation of tech entrepreneurs in their countries and regions. A select group of GIST Tech-I Alumni, called Alumni Mentors, will solicit and help select science and technology entrepreneurs with either an idea or startup in their region to join them at 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Istanbul, Turkey to pitch their idea or startup.

GIST Tech-I Alumni Mentors will solicit applications from new science and technology entrepreneurs globally to participate in the GIST Tech-I Competition over a month-long application period. At the end of that month, Alumni Mentors will review the submitted applications and nominate to AAAS three top applicants as semi-finalists to enter a voting phase.

Semi-finalists will participate in online public voting on to determine which will go on as finalists. The ten semi-finalists that receive the top voting totals and the GIST Tech-I Alumni Mentors who solicited those applications will go to the GIST Tech-I Finals where they will receive training, attend GEC, and have the opportunity to pitch their idea or startup to win capital seed funds.


Applicants must meet ALL of the following eligibility requirements:

  • The applicant must be 18-40 years old by the application deadline, December 28, 2017.
  • The applicant must be a citizen of at least one of the 136 GIST-eligible emerging economies.
  • The applicant must not hold dual-citizenship or permanent resident status in a non-GIST
  • The applicant must not submit more than one application per GIST Tech-I competition year.
  • The applicant must not be a previous GIST Tech-I finalist who traveled to and competed in
    the GIST Tech-I Finals at GES.

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

  • The application must be the original work of the Idea or Startup applicant.
  • The Idea or Startup must be developing an innovative science or technology solution with
    market potential in a GIST-eligible economy.
  • The Idea or Startup must be for-profit. Applications from non-profit ventures or NGOs are
    not eligible and will not be reviewed.
  • The Startup must be less than three years old.
    The Idea or Startup must be, at least in part based, in a GIST-eligible economy.
  • 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.
  • The Idea or Startup must not submit more than one application per GIST Tech-I competition

Prizes and Benefits


  • Global exposure. Last year’s semi-finalists received more than 430,000 votes from all over the world and were featured by numerous local, national, and international media outlets. Several even met or were mentioned by their heads of state.
  • Marketing and networking support from the AAAS Team, including the provision of voting graphics, and guidance on reaching out to media outlets.


  • An all-expenses-paid trip to Istanbul, Turkey to pitch their project and network with
    entrepreneurs and investors at GEC 2018.
  • Opportunity to attend several pre-finals training webinars on topics such as pitching
    to investors, business models, and intellectual topic.
  • One day of intensive training and mentoring in Istanbul before the finals.
  • Opportunity to win seed capital prizes and other prizes during final pitch contest.
    Prize amounts will be published closer to the finals.

How to Apply

  • Prospective applicants will go to to apply.
  • The applicant will complete a standard application form and will select an Alumni Mentor to work with should they be selected to continue in the competition.

The GIST Tech-I Application consists of:

  • A 100-word short summary of your project, to be used on the public voting website if your project advances to semifinals. Your short summary must be in English.
  • Brief eligibility questions.
  • Responses to several questions that address the Judging Criteria listed in section VII.
  • Each response is limited to 100 to 150-words. All responses must be in English.
  • A 90-second pitch video in English or with English subtitles provided. Formats
    accepted include.MOV, MPEG4, MP4, AVI, WMV, MPEGPS, FLV, .3GPP, and WebM. See examples from previous participants on YouTube.

All application materials must be submitted through the online portal before the deadline: 12:00 PM US ET, December 28, 2017. Application materials can be edited any time before that deadline.

Answers to frequently asked questions, including questions about eligibility, how to create a pitch the video, and how to improve an application, are available here. The AAAS GIST Tech-I Team is also happy to answer questions and provide advice by email at


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