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Women-led innovation and economic empowerment is a catalyst for our shared global future and a cornerstone of an equitable, sustainable, and resilient global recovery. The U.S State Department and the Global Innovation in Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative are thrilled to announce the launch of GIST CATALYST | APEC 2022: Advancing Women in the Asia-Pacific, the next generation of pitch competition taking place in-person during Global Entrepreneurship Week at the APEC forum in Bangkok, Thailand.

What is GIST Catalyst?

Catalyst has given more than 80 entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their innovation to high-impact investors, policy makers, and leaders in the U.S. private sector, and compete for generous startup resources. Launched during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 in Hyderabad, India, the competition has been repeated in 2019 (at the GES in The Hague, Netherlands), the 2019 APEC forum in La Serena, Chile, and virtually, in 2021 at the GIST Catalyst Virtual Pitch Competition. The legacy of this flagship program continues today as we work to uplift and advance women in innovation throughout the Asia-Pacific.


Participating startups will compete for prizes totaling $70k USD. All winners will have their startups elevated through GIST promotional efforts, highlighting their unique solutions and talents to the world.


1st Prize


2nd Prize


3rd Prize


4th/5th Prizes

Who Should Participate?

The answer is simple: you should.

This year’s GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition is taking place at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bangkok, Thailand. The APEC region comprises 21 Asia-Pacific economies and is home to more than 2.9 billion people. With the region entering the post-pandemic era, economies are seeking to restart industries and reinvigorate collaborations–doing so in new and innovative ways. One focus in this endeavor that aligns with GIST’s own goals is the importance of supporting women’s economic empowerment. To that end, GIST has designed this year’s Catalyst competition to focus on advancing women in the APEC region.

The GIST CATALYST | APEC Pitch Competition will be a chance for science & technology innovators to showcase their startup, perfect their pitch, and get one-on-one mentorship and training from top experts thus helping to ensure that this under-represented part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem has the best chance of success. The semifinals and finals will be in-person, on the ground in Bangkok, Thailand at the APEC forum. Semifinalists and Finalists will be provided transportation, accommodations, mentorship, and pitch training. Startup funding will be granted to the top startups after the final pitches.

Questions? Contact Jesse Flanagan –

Eligible countries:
Papua New Guinea
The Republic of the Philippines