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Tech-I 2015 Finalists Announced


The GIST initiative is led by the U.S. Department of State, and the Tech-I competition is implemented by AAAS. 

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." – President Barack Obama

Following a record number of votes, applications, and expert reviews, the U.S. Department of State, GIST initiative, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) are proud to announce the 2015 GIST Tech-I finalists.

The 2015 Tech-I finalists representing 24 countries are:


  • Abderrahmane Bentaiba, Algeria
  • Almas Taj Awan, Pakistan
  • Arlinda Rezhdo, Albania
  • Charles Batte, Uganda
  • Pape Moctar Cisse, Senegal
  • Ibrahim Rasul Bernado, Philippines
  • Iker Arbulu Lozano, Mexico
  • Jose Hernandez, Guatemala
  • Marvin Rafael Jarquin Calderon, Nicaragua
  • Mojisola Ojebode, Nigeria
  • Patricio Avila, Chile
  • Rudi Cooke, South Africa
  • Sabira Mehrin Saba, Bangladesh
  • Tareq Makhalfeh, Jordan
  • Andrey Seleznov, Ukraine


  • Ardak Berdibekov, Kazakhstan
  • Arthur Eldred, Zambia
  • Edwin Chazaro, Mexico
  • Iffat Zafat Aga, Pakistan
  • Emir Memisevic, Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Gabriel Gurovich, Chile
  • Ikpeme Neto, Nigeria
  • Jihane Laraichi, Morocco
  • Blessing Mene, Nigeria
  • Carlos Bernal, Mexico
  • Rashid Aliyev, Azerbaijan
  • Regnard Raquedan, Philippines
  • Samson Fiado, Malawi
  • Taita Ngetich, Kenya
  • Tendekayi Katsiga, Botswana

This year the Tech-I competition received a record 792 applications from 74 countries in the sectors of agriculture, energy, healthcare, and information communication technology. Following initial review at AAAS, applications went to the formal review stage conducted by the expert panels. Over 110 regional, scientific, technical, innovation, and entrepreneurship experts from around the world participated in the review process assessing: the feasibility of the idea/start-up; and the potential societal impact and target market of the idea/startup including a consideration as to what problems the idea solves, what the benefits of such an idea are, and how this product compares to others. Each application was reviewed by a minimum of 3 experts within a specific panel focused on their region and application sector.

Following full review, 76 semi-finalists from 37 countries were announced on May 8. From May 11 through June 11, semi-finalists embarked on a huge promotion campaign to advertise themselves, their product, and not forgetting to get people to vote on the Tech-I website for their idea. In total, Tech-I semi-finalists received an amazing 407,697 votes hugely surpassing the 1,000,000th Tech-I competition vote since 2011. During the month of voting, semi-finalists appeared on national and international television, on radio, Voice of America, in newspapers, and social media including the Prime Minister of Albania! Their efforts promoted entrepreneurship around the world in addition to highlighting how amazing ideas and hard work can not only benefit an individual but a community, a country, a region, and the world as a whole.

The 30 Tech-I finalists (15 Idea stage and 15 Start-up stage) will now undergo web based training prior to flying to Nairobi, Kenya to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July. During this internationally prestigious event, these amazing up-and-coming scientists and entrepreneurs will receive 2 days of intensive entrepreneurial skills training, mentorship, and networking access to global leaders in their fields. Additionally, during the GES finalists will compete in a live pitching final to decide who will become the Tech-I 2015 winners.

Stay tuned to GIST Network social media during the GES and follow #GISTTechI and #StartTheSpark.