Training the Next Generation of Pacific Islands Innovation

Training the Next Generation of Pacific Islands Innovation

Meet The Cohort Working To Build The Future Of Innovation In This Extraordinary Region

October 5, 2023

The GIST Startup Training: Pacific Islands is pleased to announce the cohort of young science and technology entrepreneurs for its 2023 training in Nadi, Fiji. This training centers on empowering innovators from across the Pacific to address needs such as climate adaptation, clean energy, and resilience and is part of GIST's ongoing support of entrepreneurial innovation across the Pacific

The program will spend 4 days providing an accelerated, intensive training in the Lean Startup process culminating in a final pitch and investor engagement day. The program focuses on using lean canvas and customer discovery tools to identify and tailor products and services to the unique needs and constraints of customers. At the end of the training, participants will be able to evaluate new approaches to reaching, serving, and maintaining customers.

Since its inception in 2011, GIST Startup Trainings have trained more than 1000 startups founders from over 30 countries. These founders have generated more than $500,000 USD in investment for their startups. For this training, entrepreneurs will be learning in tandem with a cohort of investors from the Pacific region. The culminating event will be a showcase and networking event that will combine both groups. 

This training comes at a time when the people of the Pacific are facing unparalleled challenges. Climate change is already threatening to upend the lives of many in island countries. The downstream effects touch every aspect of human existence from health and wellbeing to food security and infrastructure. By training young science and technology innovators, GIST hopes to bring the ingenuity and firsthand knowledge of these ecosystems to bear on the most pressing issues they face. As GIST alum Alvin Chai said, "We need to empower local entrepreneurs so they can solve local problems."


Here are the next generation of innovators from across the Pacific who are meeting the challenges head on: 


Vineet Singh and Akeshnil Bali - AI BASED MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC SYSTEM (FIJI): 

The AI Based Medical Diagnostic System is pioneering AI-driven diagnostic feedback in Fiji's healthcare landscape. Their innovative approach enhances telemedicine and bioinformatics, promising more efficient and informed patient care.


Tuitala Lasifo and Billy Lasifo - ALOFA INITIATIVE (TUVALU): 

In Tuvalu, the Alofa Initiative is on a mission to transition from a cash-based economy to a digital one. They have taken the first step with an e-wallet app and are exploring solutions like an online marketplace and an e-commerce accelerator program to empower local businesses and entrepreneurs.



ACES offers cost-effective and reliable clean energy solutions in Papua New Guinea. They specialize in solar and hydropower systems, serving a diverse clientele, from residential customers to rural communities, addressing power reliability issues with sustainable alternatives.


Crystal Kewe and Sharlene Gawi - BILUMINOUS ARTISANAL PLATFORM (PNG): 

Biluminous is an award-winning digital marketplace in Papua New Guinea, empowering rural micro-entrepreneurs to sell traditional handicrafts globally. Their mission is to preserve traditional cultures, support artisans, and contribute to a sustainable planet while participating in the digital economy. 


Talei Silibaravi and Wayne Fuakilau - CAGIMAIWAI BIOFERTILIZER (FIJI): 

Cagimaiwai Biofertilizer is produced from biogas systems managed by the Cagimaiwai Women’s Club in Fiji. They support local farmers by offering affordable organic fertilizers, promoting sustainable agriculture practices.


Jiaoji Tuimoala and Akisi Vakamaiverata - D&L MUSHROOMS (FIJI): 

D&L Mushrooms is transforming the mushroom farming industry in Fiji. They employ controlled environments for cultivation, ensuring accessibility and sustainability while providing a reliable source of alternative protein.


David Kanongata’a - DISCOVER TONGA (TONGA): 

Discover Tonga receives incoming tourists and directs them as a travel agent. They aim to provide data to local travel agents and eventually handover data to Tonga tourism so they may track all incoming tourists and push data and tourists to local travel agents while maintaining the current infrastructure.



ESP, established in 2023, provides accessible environmental technical services in Fiji. Their comprehensive suite of services, including environmental assessments, compliance audits, and waste management solutions, helps businesses meet environmental regulations efficiently.


Mesake Tamanikairukuruku and Isaia Bobo Tawasenayabaki - ECO-GROW FIJI PTE LTD (FIJI): 

Eco-Grow Fiji Pte Ltd introduces Homebiogas systems in Fiji, transforming waste into renewable energy and organic manure. They offer training programs, installations, and technical support, contributing to a sustainable and eco-friendly future.


Kush Pillay and Avinit Narayan - LUKAUT PACIFIC (FIJI): 

Lukaut Pacific's mobile app empowers communities in Fiji by connecting and enhancing safety and security. They provide real-time reporting, assistance, and support, fostering a safer and more resilient society. 


Retesh Narayan and Anjala Singh - NATURES WONDER PRODUCTS (FIJI): 

Natures Wonder Products, based in Fiji, is dedicated to sustainable organic and aquaponics farming. They prioritize eco-friendly practices to produce safe, nutritious crops while working in harmony with nature. 


Sharleen Ali and George Fong - PACIFICWAVE CASHLESS EVENTS (FIJI): 

PacificWave Cashless Events is revolutionizing event management with a comprehensive cashless payment system. Their one-stop solution simplifies event organization, enhances convenience for organizers and attendees, and ensures secure transactions.


Kanaan Ngutu and Rakera Arataake - PACIFIK WALLET (KIRIBATI): 

Pacifik Wallet, a Kiribati-based fintech startup founded in April 2023, offers a secure and user-friendly mobile wallet. Their innovative platform ensures swift and secure digital transactions, serving a wide range of financial needs with a commitment to convenience and safety. 


Apenisa (Ben) Maracava and Sera Keleinavutoka - PURAYIL INVESTMENT LTD (FIJI): 

Purayil Investment Ltd, managed by local experts in Fiji, is at the forefront of freshwater prawn farming. They incorporate cutting-edge technology in their operations, aiming to increase production while ensuring consistently high-quality post larvae for farmers. 


Simon Tontori and Kuo Sevenifa - PROMECYNED (PNG): 

PromecynEd, a dynamic tech startup, focuses on developing software solutions tailored to educational institutions in Papua New Guinea. Their flagship software, PromecynEd, streamlines school management, offering efficient record-keeping and academic progress tracking to support informed decision-making.


Abhisekh Shankar and Shivneel Naraya - SMART FARM SOLUTIONS (FIJI): 

Smart Farm Solutions specializes in hydroponic farming, promoting sustainability and efficient production of a wide range of fresh, high-quality produce. They provide comprehensive services, including farm setup assistance and consultations, making farming more accessible and environmentally responsible.


Livingstone Fontenu and Rhoda Wong - SOUTHERN FLAME INVESTMENT LIMITED (PNG): 

Southern Flame Investment Limited specializes in solar technology solutions. They bring alternative energy sources to rural areas in Papua New Guinea, promoting sustainability and addressing power access challenges.


Tupou Kolokihakaufisi - V. KONSULTANCY (TONGA): 

V. Konsultancy, based in Tonga, harnesses IA (Intelligent Automation) technology to create financial reports and integrated systems. They play a crucial role in facilitating business growth by providing accurate financial insights and expanding into areas like Renewable Energy and HR services. 


Follow this exciting group of young innovators as they come together in Nadi, Fiji for training, mentoring, and the chance to win resources for their startups. 


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