Newswise — ARLINGTON, VA—The Global Innovation through Science & Technology (GIST) Initiative will bring 12 technology entrepreneurs from seven African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries to Washington, D.C., and Chicago, Ill., as part of the 2014 GIST Entrepreneurship Journey. From June 9-20, innovators from Jordan, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Tunisia will showcase their innovative startups and will network with investors and the tech community. GIST is a partnership led by the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global, an independent non-profit that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration. Partners for the Chicago portion of the Journey are 1871 and the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition.

The GIST Initiative builds entrepreneurial ecosystems through startup competitions, training, networking, and interactive mentorship in 54 countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The entrepreneurs coming to the United States represent competitively selected GIST alumni with the most outstanding innovations and most successful operating businesses. Learn about the 12 participants in the GIST Entrepreneurship Journey here.

While in the U.S., GIST alumni will receive training and mentorship and will meet with successful U.S.-based “diaspora entrepreneurs” who are using their expertise to invest in new ventures in their countries of origin. GIST entrepreneurs will participate in a DEMO day on June 12 in Chicago and June 18 in Washington, D.C., where they will showcase their innovations to local communities.

In just over two years,• The GIST community has grown to almost 240,000 participants;• GIST entrepreneurs have raised more than $20 million in capital;• GIST has built a mentor network of over 300 experts; and• GIST entrepreneurs have created over 800 jobs around the world.

Domestically, the GIST Initiative creates more viable investment, partnership, and collaborative opportunities for American businesses and researchers by providing access to international innovations and expertise.

“Traditionally, entrepreneurship has been a difficult proposition in many emerging economies, and young innovators have obtained little support,” said Natalia Pipia, Associate Program Director for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, CRDF Global. “But programs like GIST are changing that. In traveling to many of these countries, I see the spirit of entrepreneurship permeating these regions. Governments, private sector, and non-profits are coming together and turning to entrepreneurship and innovation to drive economic growth, create jobs, and improve quality of life,” said Pipia.

About CRDF Global CRDF Global is an independent, non-profit organization established in 1995 to promote international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, training, and services. CRDF Global has nearly 20 years of experience managing international research funding programs and supporting emerging science and technology infrastructure in more than 40 countries in Eurasia, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.

About the GIST InitiativeThe Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative empowers young science and technology entrepreneurs to realize their dreams to improve quality of life through economic prosperity. The GIST Initiative builds entrepreneurial ecosystems in over 54 countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, by identifying and coaching promising entrepreneurs through its competitions, networking, training, online social media platform, and interactive mentorship. The GIST Initiative is a partnership led by the U.S. Department of State and CRDF Global.