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In The Business of Saving Lives

Didi Mohapi

27-year-old, Free State based medical entrepreneur, Didi Mohapi shares the services her business, MHPLabs gives to her community as well as her success tips to  the aspiring entrepreneur

 What sparked your interest in the business field, have you always been entrepreneurial?

MHPLabs came about in 2015, where I just thought there has to be more that I can do. I decided to use what I had to initially bring a change in my own life. I have a BSc Medical Virology Honours as well as more than four years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry, working in a Clinical Research Organisation. This is the reason I decided to start a company in the medical industry. No I haven’t always been entrepreneurial, however as I continued with research and development of my idea, I saw that there is actually a need and this could mean a great change for health in South Africa.

  Where did you work before launching your company?

I worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry, at a Clinical Research Organisation.

 What inspired the name of your company and what is the story behind it?

The name of my company comes from my Surname, Mohapi.  I wanted to create a legacy for generations to come, therefore it made sense for me to name the company after my own name.

Why did you decide to start your own business in the medical field?

I decided to start a business in the medical field because it`s what I know. From both studying and work experience.

You graduated in Medical Virology, what exactly does this speciality entail?

To put it plainly, Medical Virology is a study of viruses that cause human diseases. It involves laboratory work of isolating, characterising, studying and classifying viruses.

What services do you offer, what sets your company apart and who benefits from your services?

MHPLabs is a mobile diagnostic lab that specialises in Point Of Care Testing (POCT). POCT are tests that are done at primary care level of a patient. These tests are performed near where the patient is receiving care. In most cases these tests require a small drop of blood and the results can be used to diagnose as well as help the doctor to make immediate decisions regarding clinical management of the patient. These tests include glucose testing, urinalysis, hematology, pregnancy testing, HIV testing and coagulation testing, just to mention a few. Being Mobile enables us to travel to our clients who are patients at public hospitals, clinics and at doctor`s private practices. What sets us apart is that we provide results to our patients instantaneously. Therefore we improve the turn-around time of results and we eliminate patients waiting for hours in long ques, waiting for results.

 Describe some of the challenges you faced when starting out your company?

Our biggest challenge, I must say, is getting all the medical equipment we need, as these machines are somewhat expensive.

Tell us about some of the highlights so far?

One of the highlights for MHPLabs is being one of the top three winners of the SAB Kickstart Ignite Programme. This programme ran for six months. And it involved moving our business concepts, from an idea to materialising it.

  What are your short term and long term goals for your business?

My short term goals are to get more medical equipment as well as securing clients. Therefore, we`re working on marketing ourselves mor. Long term goals, we definitely want to operate nation-wide.

 What can we expect from you in 2017?

You can expect effective, quality services from MHPLabs with personnel that is passionate about what they do and thus bringing a change, slowly but surely, in the South African health system, starting with one province at a time. In 2017… the Free State.

 If you could, what would you change about entrepreneurship in South Africa?

I would make sure that there are more organisations that provides support such as mentorships, trainings and start-up capital for entrepreneurs in South Africa. This is important as it gives them more hope in achieving their goals and being a success.

 How many employees do you have and what is your leadership style?

We employ four people per mobile vans that we have. Therefore the more we grow and expand, the more mobile vans we get and thus the more people we will be able to employ.  I believe my leadership style is democratic. Although there are procedures and rules on how to perform certain tasks, I also believe employees should be free to do what works for them in completing tasks at hand and should also be free to suggest ways of improving processes and tasks.

What is your advice to other young people who want to start successful businesses?

First they need to believe in themselves and their product or service. This will ensure that they stand their ground and fight for it. Constant research and development of service or product is vital for any business to succeed, therefore they should apply themselves, bearing in mind that everything that’s worthwhile won’t come easy. Perseverance and patience, is key.

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