Smergos Goes Public
Both Nick and Nicole have dealt with their own disabilities for most of their lives and overcome numerous challenges along the way. Aged just six months, Nick was involved in a car accident that resulted in cerebral palsy with left hemiplegia. Nicole was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a congenital disorder characterised by brittle bones that are prone to fracture. Consequently, she has never been able to walk and is permanently in a wheelchair.
However, we are talking about two driven and determined individuals whose positive mind-sets would never allow their disabilities to define them or prevent them from fulfilling their life goals. Their personal experiences have given them an acute awareness and understanding of what disabled people need and how the current marketplace is failing to meet many of those needs.
Smergos was launched to the public at the end of 2015 with a range of bags that fit neatly on any wheelchair, giving the user a safe and easily accessible way to carry their belongings. Through their own experiences and interactions with their customers, Nick and Nicole have recognised the need to diversify and personalise their product range. They have several new and exciting products which will be released in 2018.
In 2017 Smergos was accepted into the Spark International incubator program and more recently won R520 000 as joint second place winners at the 2017 SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards. This is a massive leap forward for the company. It will help fast track their plans to reach more people with disabilities and inspire motion.
Smergos is a start-up company co-owned by Nick Smit and Nicole Vergos. We are two passionate individuals dedicated to creating a range of wheelchair bags and other accessories that provide much-needed functionality through a choice of simple, personalised designs.
As business partners, both of us have first-hand experience of living with disability. Consequently, we have a sound understanding of what people with special needs require and the best way to fulfil their requirements.
Smergos is the first South African company to specialise in the manufacturing of accessories specifically designed for people in wheelchairs. Our aim is to offer a range of accessories that fit neatly onto any wheelchair, giving the customer a better quality of life.
We are both highly motivated people and want to see Smergos succeed. With this in mind, we plan to expand our wheelchair product range to include not only bags but many other exciting accessories. 2017 proved to be a big year for us with regards to opportunities and development, as we were accepted into the SPARK International incubator. Following this, Smergos placed joint second in the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. With both massive achievements, 2018 will be our most prolific year yet.
Ultimately, we plan to take Smergos global within the next five to seven years. We aim to expand our product offerings to fulfil the needs of people living with other disabilities. As the company grows, our ultimate vision is to do everything in-house, hire disabled people and launch stores that offer products and cater for disabled people.