The US Department of State launches “GIST Innovates the Balkans” 2024

GIST Innovates the Balkans 2024 is the newest program by the Arizona State University and the Innovation Centre Kosovo (as a regional lead), on ICT, Innovation and Startups, financed by the US Department of State. Bringing U.S. entrepreneurial expertise to the top science and technology innovators in the Balkans.

Get ready to jumpstart your venture journey! The Global Innovation through Science and Technology – GIST (powered by the US Department of State), and its partners are bringing a program to help empower the next wave of innovation happening in one of the most exciting emerging regions in the world with GIST Innovates: The Balkans!

GIST Innovates: The Balkans is a ten-week pre-accelerator training program modeled on Lean Startup methodology- We will coach teams on application of Lean Startup entrepreneurship methodology, guiding them on how to do effective customer discovery for problem/solution fit of participants’ ideas.

By the end of the program, teams will have completed at least 40 interviews with target customers in the US, gaining valuable insight on how to shape their product for maximum impact in the US market! The program will provide innovators with the training, mentoring, and resources they need to build their entrepreneurial skills and bring their ideas to market. The program will also provide opportunities for teams to connect with mentors in the U.S. and provide opportunities to interact with U.S.-based investors and companies.

After the training, teams may have an opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors at Arizona State University’s bi-annual Venture Devils Demo Day at ASU in Greater Phoenix, AZ.

Important dates:

  • Application window: 22 January 2024 – 31 Mar 2024
  • 10-week training program: The training will begin with an in-person workshop 3 – 7 June, 2024 in Skopje, North Macedonia followed by 9 weeks of virtual learning.
  • December 2024 Venture Devils Demo Day at ASU in Greater Phoenix, AZ, USA
November 2023. Teams from Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia during their visit to Arizona, USA.

Who Should Participate?

This program is perfect for Balkans startups that are looking to take their innovations to the next level by getting mentoring, U.S. market expertise, and valuable business model training. All Balkan science and technology startups whose founder is 18 – 40 years of age are eligible to apply. Please read the full eligibility requirements before applying. The broader aim of GIST Innovates Balkans is to reinforce productive values in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Balkans, including merit-based competition, diversity of experience, scientific rigor, societal impact of technology, ethics, transparency, and inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups.