Suva, Fiji – A 26-year-old law student at the University of the South Pacific has won the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)-based enterprise competition. Originally from the Western Division, Sovaia Liku’s business idea is to use shipping containers to create sustainable and cost-effective homes.

Sovaia, was motivated by first-hand experience with Tropical Cyclones, which cause widespread devastation and leave families homeless. Sovaia’s technology provides a cheaper, easier and more resilient way to build houses. This project targets vulnerable groups, such as people in remote villages and islands, young families and especially those living in disaster-prone areas.

The announcement was made at the National Youth and Sports Conference which was held at the USP Laucala Campus in Suva recently. Young leaders from all around the country including Sovaia gathered to showcase their work.

Sovaia says ContainX will be as eco-friendly as possible as they will use materials that won't harm the environment. She wants the houses to be affordable and strong, and to have renewable energy as its main power source.

Sovaia Liku receives recognition for her business idea (Photo: Ministry of Youth and Sports)

“First off, the Co:Lab was hands on, meaning the facilitators were willing to talk about the kinds of challenges we would likely face in our business ventures and how to counteract them realistically. And we had the opportunity to brainstorm ideas, network and share experiences which I can say was very helpful to someone like me. I had the idea, but no experience whatsoever, and they encouraged me to pursue it still,” Sovaia said.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-USP Innovation Hub hosted one of the tracks for the National Conference - a two-day Youth Co:Lab workshop, which culminated in entrepreneurship and technology competition. Conference participants selected by the Ministry of Youth and Sports as well as USP students and online applicants gladly took part in the competition. 

Youth Co:Lab Workshop participants selected by the Ministry of Youth and Sports were also part of the competition (Photo: UNDP)

One of the focuses of this Youth Co:Lab event was information and communication technology (ICT).

Vineet Singh, a USP research student and mobile app developer, has had the best ICT pitch. His project  EduFiji app - web and mobile app for connecting primary and secondary schools, students, parents, teachers and the Ministry of Education for easy communication, sharing of information, data analytics and transparency.

Mere Mese, Vasiti Kawau and Miriama Saunalewa from Galoa village, outside Suva who recently participated in plastic repurposing workshop supported by UNDP and the South Pacific Tourism Organization, presented their handicraft products and won the first prize in the category of group projects.

Mere Mese, Vasiti Kawau and Miriama Saunalewa from Galoa village won the first prize in the group project category (Photo: UNDP)

Awardees of the Youth Co:Lab include Samuela Tuinaba with his self-defense academy project, Epeli Tuibeqa with fashion and apparel business, Josifini Ledua with organic livestock farm, Shuihendra Prasad with bee farming idea, Dwain Qalovaki and his eco-friendly and safe stoves targeting rural areas, and Tevita Tuvuki, with youth development through farming and eco-resort project.

Co-created in 2017 by UNDP and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth, so that they can  accelerate the  implementation of the SDGs) through leadership,  social innovation and entrepreneurship.

The UNDP-USP Innovation Hub seeks to promote and support innovative approaches to development, creativity and entrepreneurship in Fiji and the Pacific. Follow Innovation Hub for more information and updates.

The National Youth and Sports Conference was held from 26 – 28 March.

For more information:

Evgeniya Kleshcheva, Communications and Partnerships, Inclusive Growth Team, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Tel: +679 738 50 67, Email:

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