Portia Mavhungo understands the loss of independence and dignity people face when they are permanently wheelchair-bound. This is all after an accident that left her temporarily in a wheelchair where she endured physical challenges such as needed to use the toilet.
As a result of such challenges, Portia Mavhungo developed a retrofitted seat that fits in any chair with a built-in toilet using disposable, biodegradable bags giving independence and dignity to its users. The Para-Tube itself is made from off-the-shelf components in order to keep costs down for the end-users.
We chat to Portia Mavhungo, inventor of the Para-Tube, to find out about PRD Logical Solutions...
Can you tell us a bit about PRD Logical Solutions?
PRD Logical Solutions is the acronyms of my two names Portia Refilwe and my business partner Darushna name. And we believe in logical thinking through innovative solutions.
When, how and why did you get started?job?
In 2011, I had a major accident which resulted in me being wheelchair-bound and thereafter going through a lot of trauma. I came up with the innovation of developing a retrofitted seat that fits in any wheelchair - the retrofitted seat is a built-in toilet that uses disposable, biodegradable bags giving independence and dignity to its users. The Para-Tube itself is made from off-the-shelf components in order to keep costs down for the end-users.
I then received funding from TIA for my innovation and thereafter in 2015 took Darushna on as a business partner.
What is the core function of PRD Logical Solutions ?job?
PRD focuses on basic innovation for persons living with disabilities.
What are some of the obstacles you've had to overcome since starting out?job?
Lack of funding, lack of personal growth support and trouble finding the right businesses to partner with.
What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Never ever give up on your dream as there is no such thing as a stupid idea. All ideas are great they just need patience and passion.
What has been your proudest achievement thus far?
The many awards to my name and being endorsed by the President of South Africa at the June 16th Commemoration Day.
What does the future of entrepreneurship look like to you?
I see it as the real-life hero of this world as there are so many entrepreneurs, like myself, with simple solutions that can make a huge difference!
What do you think is the importance of startup accelerator/incubator programmes?
These type of programmes saves us from ourselves in ways of grounding us and as well as understanding who we are and why we are doing what we are doing. For me, Red Bull Amaphiko was able to bring me together with like-minded entrepreneurs that have been through similar challenges and seeing that we are not as lonely and crazy as we think we are
What would you like to see changed in the South African startup landscape?
I would love to see an ecosystem of entrepreneurs working together in building a system that's untouchable, building a Silicon Valley of startups that can contribute to the terrible unemployment rate and GDB.
What do you believe are the traits an entrepreneur needs in order to succeed?
Humility, Humble, Patience, Resilience and Passion
Tell us about your biggest struggles as an entrepreneur, as well as some major highlights.
The biggest struggle was losing the two most important people in my life, my mother and grandmother and a major highlight was gaining that love again from my partner, her family and the amazing people I have met around Africa and on this journey.
Would you encourage someone to become an entrepreneur? Why?
Yes, because being an entrepreneur is just not a way of life for them, but a life-changing experience for the people they help and meet through their journey.
Where would you like to see PRD Logical Solutions in the next five years?
One of the biggest social enterprise empires in Africa