Local social entrepreneurial startup, ConnectHear, has advanced to the 2019 GIST Tech-I Semifinals for its promising innovation democratizing Sign Language interpretation and bridging the communication gap between the hearing and deaf populations of Pakistan.
GIST Tech-I is an annual competition that challenges aspiring science and technology entrepreneurs in 132 emerging economies to pitch their ideas or startups to experts and the general public. The competition is part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) initiative and has been implemented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2014.
This year, more than 500 innovators from emerging economies worldwide submitted their ideas or startups to GIST Tech-I. Only the top twenty-four will advance through an expert review stage and the semifinals public voting stage to showcase their innovations, receive one-on-one mentoring, and compete for seed capital prizes at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) in Bahrain, April 15-18, 2019.
After review by panels of regional, scientific, and entrepreneurship experts from around the world, ConnectHear has been named one of the just 80 2019 GIST Tech-I Semifinalists.
ConnectHear is working to advance the facilitation of deaf accessibility by working tirelessly to create an inclusive environment for the deaf community of Pakistan. Its mission is to witness deaf individuals pursuing activities and availing opportunities that they are mostly left excluded from; and the most effective way to realize that dream is to bridge the communication gap between the hearing and deaf community through virtual and in-person Sign Language interpretation services, and execution of Sign Language Training Classes to increase Sign Language literacy in Pakistan.
“Ever since I was introduced to the expansive potential of technology in my childhood, I have always sought to work towards using it for something greater than just personal convenience and, now, I’m really proud of how we have done just that through ConnectHear. It is truly an honour to have the opportunity to represent the innovation and disruption in the technology sector of Pakistan at the esteemed platform of the GIST Tech-I Competition. Now, we look forward to working towards qualifying for the finals and acquire the chance to showcase our work to an international audience while also gaining the necessary training and mentorship to increase the scope of our work in terms of solving the global issue of deaf accessibility and communication.”
– Arhum Ishtiaq, Co-Founder and CTO of ConnectHear
In ConnectHear’s pitch video and application to the GIST Tech-I Competition, it demonstrated its idea’s technical feasibility, market potential, and the significance of the problem it addresses. Now, the global public’s online votes will help decide whether ConnectHear advances as one of the 30 GIST Tech-I finalists to represent Pakistan and showcase its innovation to some of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs at GEC.