At the recent conference on Economic Development through Science and Technology Innovation, the State Department-sponsored Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative launched two programs that will foster innovation and technology entrepreneurship through social networking, skill development, and financing.
GIST Accelerator Network (GISTnet) – A web-based social media platform that provides mentorship, resources and tools for young entrepreneurs to collaborate, connect with investors and accelerate technology commercialization. Incorporating popular social networking tools, GISTnet will also facilitate participation in competitions, discussion lists and enable real-time access to training, education and events.
TECH-i technology idea competition – Designed to encourage young entrepreneurs in 43 nations through coaching and seed funding. The GIST initiative invites applicants to develop innovative solutions to complex economic development challenges. Beginning July 2011, registered GISTnet users can submit two-minute video pitches. Finalists will be selected by the public and expert reviewers to compete for up to $60,000 (USD) in awards.
The GIST programs were announced at the June 16-17 conference on Economic Development through Science and Technology Innovation in Rabat, Morocco attended by Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones. This conference was the third and final consultative meeting to develop high impact engagement opportunities. Previous meetings were held in Alexandria, Egypt and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In total, nearly 400 scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and policymakers from 26 countries contributed to the program development.
The GIST initiative is implemented by CRDF Global, a not-for-profit organization committed to international science and technology cooperation. The Initiative is another example of the science and technology innovation partnerships President Obama called for in his June 2009 speech in Cairo.
To learn more, join the community and participate in competitions on GISTnet, go to www.GISTinitiative.org. Visit frequently for new programs and competitions announcements.