Young App designer Sam Berger is a youngster with innovation and entrepreneurial gifts unlike many of his peers. His ingenuity has seen him design some of the most useful computer apps which can help save a lot of money for businesses; but here’s the catch – he’s done it all at just 12 years old.
Berger is one of this year’s finalists for the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition. The young computer wizard designed a geyser app which can detect whether geysers are in or out of guarantee without the trouble of climbing onto the roof to get the serial number and date code.
The app, GeyCheck, uses a QR code (Quick Response) to read the information on the geyser by use of a cellphone, then stores the information and digitally presents it.
Berger’s target market are home insurance companies and believes this app will save millions of rands for businesses. His family’s calculations reveal that the app could potentially save insurers up to R30 million a year.
The making of a boy genius
Berger’s natural aptitude was first publicly noticed in 2012 when he attended a three-day Python programming course, which is usually attended by high-school students, at the University of Cape Town. He received first and second places for two projects he completed in record time.
But that was just the beginning. In March last year Sam Berger attended an all expenses-paid conference with 3000 delegates in Silicon Valley, California, as a result of his proficiency and passion in IT. Microsoft SA has scooped up the young genius and is providing software, mentorship and support for his work. Another IT company based in Cape Town has opened doors to Berger, providing him with weekly mentorship and practical experiment.
The young entrepreneur started fiddling with an old computer owned by his parents when he was seven. When he was 10, he bought his own brand new computer with “lots and lots of savings”. It is clear that Berger has more ambition and dreams than most 12-year-olds, but the little boy is still in him, as he spends most of his time playing computer games and reading sci-fi books.
Where to, now?
Sam Berger aims to impart his knowledge and skills among his peers, teaching children in underprivileged communities in South Africa how to code, and offer them a free hand-held computer. This is a programme in which he’s working closely with the Minister of Basic Education to launch an IT education drive.
Berger’s future prospects are looking bright as he’s been offered a chief technology officer (CTO) position by an IT company but it has had to be placed on hold, for now.
“I try not to think too much about the future,” he said.
The Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition lauded Berger for his drive to innovate and succeed though he is too young to enter the competition.
Spokesperson for the competition, Chris Botes, said he strongly believes Berger will be a future entrant in the competition.
“The competition aims to celebrate excellence in entrepreneurs and serve as an inspiration to others to succeed in the world of business…and we strongly believe Sam will be a future entrant in the competition,” he said.
The Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition discovers ambitious and driven entrepreneurs that are striving to be captains within their respective fields.