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12-year old whiz kid impresses Sanlam competition despite being underage

Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year seeks out talented entrepreneurs who are striving to become leaders in their respective fields. This year’s competition has discovered Sam Berger, a 12-year old computer whiz kid that is developing apps for businesses, among other impressive feats.

One such app that Berger has created is a patented geyser app designed for home insurance companies in South Africa. The app uses QR codes to confirm whether geysers are in or out of guarantee. The app, according to the Berger family, could potentially save insurers 25-30-million rand 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 the entrepreneur.

According to a spokesperson for the competition, Sam Berger is actually too young to enter, but shows all the qualities the competition looks for — a drive to innovate and succeed.

In 2012, when Berger was ten years old, he attended a three-day Python programming course at UCT. The course, attended by high-school students, saw Berger’s two projects receive both first and second place.

sam berger whiz kid

From there Berger was invited to attend the Python Software Foundation annual conference where he impressed the co-ordinator so much that he received an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference in Silicon Valley, California in March 2013. It was there that Berger was asked to teach high-school children how to code before attending the main conference.

Berger has been noticed by other IT companies, such as Microsoft SA, who is providing him with software and mentor-ship. He is also currently being mentored by a Cape Town-based IT company where he goes in once a week to work on any projects he is interested in. Berger is also editing a book on cryptology working with an author in the United States.

Among other endeavours, Berger is involved in an IT education drive with the Minister of Basic Education to teach children in underprivileged communities in SA how to code, working with the Raspberry Pi.

The Sanlam spokesperson adds, “the competition aims to acknowledge and support local entrepreneurship, and we strongly believe Sam will be a future entrant in the competition.”

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