Shona McDonald / Western Cape Medical Devices Cluster

Board of Directors

Shona McDonald

Shona is the Director and Founder of Shonaquip (Pty) Ltd, which was first established in 1992. She is also the Founder and Director of Uhambo Foundation, a non-profit company which was established in 2010. Shonaquip and Uhambo Foundation together form a social enterprise which is committed to transforming the quality of life of individuals living with moderate to severe disabilities.

Her life’s work, and Shonaquip’s origin was inspired by her daughter, Shelly, who was born with cerebral palsy. Her family experienced first-hand how difficult it was to find appropriate assistive devices. When Shona, together with Mike Price from the Biomedical Engineering Department at UCT designed the first South African pediatric posture support wheelchair in 1984 she understood that wheelchairs were about more than transport, more than ensuring that children did not develop secondary (often life threatening) complications, wheelchairs are about independence, dignity, access to school and inclusion. Assistive devices allow people to live their human rights.

During her appointments with Shelly, she met families who were not able to access the support they needed. This spurred her life-long commitment to address the lack of appropriate wheelchair provision, holistic support services, parent empowerment and adequate policy for people with mobility disabilities as every wheelchair user should be correctly fitted in an appropriate wheelchair and actively included in school and all levels of their community.

Shona, together with our in-house design department continue to innovate and develop the range of mobility and postural support devices which are locally produced and hand-assembled at our factory in Cape Town. Our designs are born in the field and informed by a wide variety of users, their unique needs and the contexts they live in. We constantly strive to improve our products and the impact they have on the quality of life of the users through on-going field trials, user feedback and input from our network of local and international seating practitioners. The Social Enterprise works across the CBR matrix in community, parent capacity building and the empowerment which is core to our purpose and it continues to expand its impact delivering jointly on a shared vision.


  • 2016    PERA Social Enterprise Award Winner
  • 2016    SAB Foundation Inaugural Disability Empowerment Award
  • 2016    National Disability Rights Summit Award
  • 2016    Zero Project Best Practice Award 2016
  • 2016    IWEC Winner of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge
  • 2015    Western Cape Chamber of Commerce: Western Cape Exporter of the Year
  • 2014    Resna (Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Soc of North America) Honorary Fellowship
  • 2014    Africa’s Design Indaba Innovation Award
  • 2012    Ashoka Fellowship and Changemaker Award
  • 2012    SAB Foundation Innovation Award
  • 2012    Impumelelo Social Entrepreneur Award
  • 2011    Shoprite Woman of the year – Socio-economic business developer
  • 2010    World Economic Forum – Outstanding Social Entrepreneur in South Africa 2010.
  • 2009    Ernst and Young World Entrepreneur Awards – Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 in South Africa.
  • 2009    Schwab Foundation Fellowship – 2009
  • 2009    Top Business: Top Woman in Business and Government
  • 2008       Endeavor Global Entrepreneur