Social entrepreneurship and social innovation are said to be important tools to tackle social challenges and to respond to them when the market and the public sector do not. Meet Portia Mavhungu, a social entrepreneur whose company focuses on improving the living conditions of people living with disabilities.
Mavhungu’s company PRD Logical Solutions came 3rd at the GCIP-SA Medical Devices Pitching Den that took place at the SA Innovation Summit in September 2018. She shares with us her passion for social entrepreneurship.
Who is Portia Mavhungu?
My mother worked for an Indian family for 30 years, the grandmother of that family helped my mother raise me, ensuring that I am given an education and life as well. I am a 31 year old Venda lady that believes that Innovation is the answer to a better life. I lost my mother in 2017 to Cancer and therefore all I do with regards to my company and project is in her name.
What is PRD Logical Solutions?
PRD logical solutions is a social innovation company that focuses on building new innovative and cost effective medical devices for people living with disabilities and as well as a company that focuses on making sure that the less fortunate have excess to these devices as well.
What impact does your product have?
The PARA-TUBE assists its users who are wheelchair bound to use the bathroom more independently and at the same time assist them with retaining their dignity. The device also bridges the GAP of the lack of bathroom facilities that the world has for people who are bound to a wheelchair.
Has your participation in the SA Innovation Summit – GCIP-SA Medical Devices Pitching Den had any impact in your business?
Participating in the DEN allowed me to go back and apply the knowledge that I have received from the judges’ feedback and put that in to motion in my business which has proven fruitful.
You won 3rd Prize in the GCIP-SA Medical Devices Pitching Den, tell us about what this means to you?
Being a GCIP-SA finalist offered me the opportunity to pitch at the main Summit Pitching Den and being announced as a GCIP-SA finalist, also led me to win the Social Entrepreneurship award at the main GCIP-SA event. To me this means that we are on right track and that the company’s values are being lived through in competitions or programs we participate in.
What challenges were you faced with while building your product?
I have learned that if you want to have a successful business and product you need to make some sacrifices and I had made the sacrifice three years ago to leave my paying job and concentrate fully on my business. It has not been an easy journey but the knowledge and self-worth I gained in these 3 years has taught me that life is hard but fruitful at the end if you passionate about it. So the challenge I faced was lack of financial support for my personal self just to have the basic necessities as I have seen a lot of people give up, but I was just not one of them.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs or those looking to start their own business?
Be prepared for life to humble you and always keep moving forward. Failures are perfectly okay but only if you never give up after the failure. Be honest and work with integrity to ensure that you just don’t build a business but an empire and always remain as humble and kind-hearted as possible because that’s the real key to success.