Entrepreneurial competition entries reveal young computer whiz

By on June 30, 2014

Every year, the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® discovers ambitious and driven entrepreneurs that are striving to be captains within their respective fields. One such noteworthy entrant from this year’s competition is 12 year old Sam Berger, a talented computer whiz, who creates useful apps for businesses.

One of Berger’s most amazing of the myriad applications to date is a geyser app which was patented earlier this year. Designed for home insurance companies in South Africa, the app uses QR codes to confirm whether the geysers are in or out of guarantee. According to the Berger family’s calculations, the app could potentially save insurers between R25 million and R30 million a year.

“The app results in the client not having to climb onto the roof to get the serial number and date code, and the insurer doesn’t have to pay a contractor to go out and investigate whether the geyser is in or out of guarantee,” says Berger.

Christo Botes, spokesperson for the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, says that while Berger is unfortunately too young to enter the competition, he holds the qualities that the competition stands for – a drive to innovate and succeed.

In 2012, when Berger was just 10 years of age, he attended a three-day Python programming course at the University of Cape Town, which is usually attended by high-school students. During the course, he not only finished his two projects in record time, but also received first place for the one and second for the other.

Quickly noting his talent, the facilitator of the course requested that the Python Software Foundation invite Berger to their annual conference a week later. Berger’s proficiency in, and passion for, IT was noted by the Python Conference co-ordinator, as a result he found himself attending an all-expenses-paid conference in Silicon Valley, California in March 2013 where Berger was mentioned in both the opening and closing ceremony to over 3000 delegates.

IT companies have already shown their support for his talents, with Microsoft SA providing software, mentorship and support for the great work he has done. He is also currently being mentored by an IT company in Cape Town, where he can go in once a week to work on projects that meet his fancy.

Apart from the various apps Berger is developing, he is also involved in tutoring other kids and is working with the Minister of Basic Education to launch an IT education drive. It will involve teaching children in underprivileged communities in South Africa how to code, and offer them a free hand-held computer, called the Raspberry Pi.

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