11 GISTech-I Winners Announced at 2011 Entrepreneurship Summit

Dec 08, 2011
CRDF Global and the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative congratulates the 11 winners of the GISTech-I competition! The winners were selected during the GISTech-I Competition Finale “The Battle of Ideas” held at the 2011 Entrepreneurship Summit held Dec. 3-6, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey. Two entrepreneurs from Lebanon, Najwa Sahmarani and Zyad Sankari, won first place and will receive $20,000 for their start-up idea -- called Cardio Diagnostics, a health device that monitors a patient's heart 24/7.

GISTech-I Winners

GISTech-I 2011 Entrepreneurship Summit Program

Hosted by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Summit drew prominent international leaders like U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, investors and successful entrepreneurs. In his address at the Summit, Vice President Biden spoke about the power of entrepreneurship to change lives.

The GIST Tech-I Competition was a multinational venture that invited applicants in 43 Muslim majority countries to submit proposals and videos detailing their ideas for technology innovation. Through this competition, CRDF Global and GIST aimed to inspire young entrepreneurs by helping them to advance their technology ideas.

Throughout the three-day event, the 25 GIST Tech-I semi-finalists received mentoring and pitch training to prepare them for a presentation before an international panel of judges. The most successful 11 entrepreneurs were recognized at a December 5 award ceremony.

“We just concluded an outstanding event. The level of energy and enthusiasm these young entrepreneurs radiated was unbelievable,” said Natalia Pipia, CRDF Global senior program manager for Innovation Programs. “Everybody was so grateful for the opportunity to participate in the YouTube competition and learn from top-notch mentors and judges. These folks are the ones who will make a difference in their countries!”

First runner-up James Khoo of Malaysia says he is already sharing his positive experiences from the Summit with his fellow entrepreneurs at home.

“My family and I would love to give our personal thanks to CRDF Global for organizing such a successful event. It means a lot to us as entrepreneurs,” added Khoo. “I have shared my experiences -- what I have learned, and the networking I have gained from the GISTech-I competitions -- to a local entrepreneur group.”

Khoo also said he is strongly encouraging the group to participate in the GIST Business Plan Competition. With this competition, the GIST Initiative and its partners aim to open the doors of opportunity to young entrepreneurs in the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South Asia. Aspiring entrepreneurs can enter the competition and win a cash prize of $50,000 to launch their business, in addition to receiving training and mentorship, which will also be provided to semifinalists. The application deadline is Jan. 12, 2012.

“The initial reaction to the competition is positive,” said Khoo. “I think GIST will receive a lot of entries from Malaysia!”

List of Winners

Click the links to watch the video submissions.

First Place ($20,000 grant):

  • Najwa Sahmarani and Zyad Sankari of Lebanon for their Cardio Diagnostics idea

First Runner-Up ($10,000 grant):

  • James Khoo Chen of Malaysia for his SecQme project, a technology application that enables individual security in urban cities leveraging social and mobile networks.

Second Runner-Ups (four $5,000 grants): Winning Teams

Honorable Mentions (5 $2,000 grants): Winning Teams


Region 1

Net3lem (Egypt),
Greenhouse (Turkey), (Egypt), ttp://
7alaWa7da (Egypt),
WithLoveFromMe (Egypt),
G2G-Give to Get (Egypt),
Cognitive Channel Use (Egypt),
Alli Sootak (Egypt),


Region II

Taltol (Jordan),
Taqetna- Renewable Energy (Jordan),
SimTravel (UAE), 
Silver Nanoparticles of Milk (Saudi Arabia/Lebanon),
Refilling Batteries (Qatar),
G2G-Give to Get (Egypt),

 Cognitive Channel Use (Egypt), Alli Sootak (Egypt),
RoboBlind (UAE),
 Cardio Diagnostics (Lebanon), House Energy Saving Application (Iraq),
Movement Charger (Jordan),

Region III 

Artifical Brain Controlled Upperlimb Prosthesis

Antenna Serves 
Natural Gas Digester
Bloodline (Pakistan),
Piezoelectric Solution
(Pakistan), ttp://
Saltech (Pakistan), 
Biodiesel-21 Century Energy Soution for Pakistan
SecQme- My Mobile Tracker


  • Joseph Hadzima, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Steven R. Koltai, Global Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builder
  • Stephanie Marrus, CEO, Portfolio Strategies and Stanford Technology Ventures Program Entrepreneur in Residence
  • Ahmed El Alfi, Founder & Chairman, Sawari Ventures
  • Shareef Batata, Associate Director of SME Programs, SilatechTM
  • Paul Bragiel, Co-Founder & Managing Partner,  I/O Ventures
  • Mike Ducker, JE. Austin Associates Inc.
  • Mert Tinik, Marketing & Commercial Director, Mazars Türkiye
  • Burcin Ergunt, President, PING
  • Yigit Savci, Owner, Gama Plastic
  • David Nabty, Chief Entrepreneur and Organizer,


  • Robert R. Ackerman, Jr., Founder and Managing Director, Allegis Capital
  • Elizabeth (Beezer) Clarkson, Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • Craig Hanson, General Partner, Next World Capital
  • Christopher M. Schroeder, CEO and Board Member, HealthCentral
  • Alphan Manas, Chairman , Brightwell Holdings
  • Jennifer Kushell, President and Co-founder, Your Success Network

About CRDF Global

CRDF Global is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through grants, technical resources, and training. CRDF Global is based in Arlington, Virginia with offices in Moscow, Russia; Kyiv, Ukraine; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Amman, Jordan. CRDF Global has an extensive experience engaging scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs in countries around the globe and in leading the way to science and technology-based development and commercialization.

About GIST

GIST is supported by the U.S. Department of State and implemented by CRDF Global. GIST is one of the primary science and technology initiatives proposed by U.S. President Barack Obama during his 2009 Cairo speech. The GIST initiative delivers top value to promising entrepreneurs through its competitions, online platform, comprehensive online and offline training programs and its university industry partnerships.