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AAAS Announces Semifinalists in Global Entrepreneur Competition

Click the interactive map to learn more about this year's GIST Tech-I semifinalists. | AAAS/GIST Tech-I

Researchers in Bangladesh are thinking about a stove that can cook and generate electricity at the same time. A start-up in Guatemala is looking for new ways to bring skilled mothers together to offer services like sewing and tutoring. And, a group in Kenya wants to use 3-D bioprinters to help bring about a future where a patient's own cells can be used to grow replacement organs.

These innovators, along with 64 other participants from 35 countries, are the semifinalists in the yearly GIST Tech-I competition, sponsored by the U.S. State Department and implemented by AAAS. Thirty of these semifinalists will have the opportunity to pitch their projects during the finals at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, Morocco this November.

Young scientists and entrepreneurs from 86 eligible countries were required to submit online applications, including a 90-second video and 750-word executive summary, in order to compete in Tech-I. Their applications were reviewed by 16 expert panels convened by AAAS, who judged the applicants in divisions based on their geographic region and topics including agriculture, energy, health, and information and communication technology. The competition received a record 502 applications in 2014.

The public can now vote for their favorite semifinalist pitches online, helping to choose the finalists who will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and receive two days of intensive mentoring prior to their final presentations before an expert panel. Each winner may receive up to $15,000 in grant funding and three months of one-on-one mentoring from global experts in their field. The winning categories include the top three start-up entries, the top three idea stage entries, best female entrepreneur, most potential for social impact, and honorable mentions.

The State Department's GIST (Global Innovation through Science and Technology) initiative helps young science and technology researchers build entrepreneurial skills and connect with mentors and investors around the world. Since 2011, GIST has mentored over 4,500 startups, generated over $29 million in revenue, and worked with over 2.5 million innovators and entrepreneurs.

Voting on the 2014 semifinalists is open to the public until 1 October.