Technology fanatic Simangaliso Austin Zungu, founder and group MD of Sengwayo Group based in KwaMbonambi, is working on a project to develop a breakthrough mobile power harvester for mobile devices.
Out of 198 entries, Zungu’s invention won the second special award at the Inkunz’isematholeni Youth in Business Awards recently.

He is developing the PoEX Module, an efficient power extending module.

PoEX Module is a power harvester designed to extend the battery life of mobile devices. It could be built into cell phones and tablets for a continuous harvested and eco-friendly power on-the-go.

It allows mobile communication devices to be charged without having to connect to a centralised power source or to any portable power banks.

The 34-year-old father of two explained how his passion for entrepreneurship developed from his childhood. “Since high school, my passion and interests were already navigated – either I enrol for a BTech in Clinical Technology or become an entrepreneur in the technology and innovation space,” says Zungu.

A year after he matriculated at Mbusowabathethwa High School in KwaMbonambi, he obtained a certificate in Point-of-Sale from Empangeni Commercial College. Due to financial constraints beyond his control, Zungu requested permission to complete the three-month course in one month in order to cut down on commuting costs. His goal was realised through hard work and dedication.

In 2003, he volunteered his time at the Centre for Education and Enterprise Development (CEED), now known as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA). He facilitated basic introduction to computers classes and organised career guidance workshops for high school learners.

From 2005 to 2006, he worked at the Durban ICC as a technical administrator, during which time he came into contact with prominent entrepreneurs and successful businessmen.

After responding to an advertisement calling on applicants to enroll for environmental management training at the Institute for Zero Waste in Africa (IZWA), Zungu received a call a few days later to write an introductory test. So impressed was the national co-ordinator of the institute with his results that he was appointed as a facilitator as opposed to a trainee.

While at IZWA, Zungu enrolled for a New Venture Creation Programme NQF Level 4 where he developed a plan to outsource and market an “i-Note Pen” which resembles and functions like a standard pen. The pen comes equipped with a receiver. When writing using this pen, the receiver captures all handwritten notes which it then converts to a computerised format, thereby eliminating the need to re-type on a computer.

While the pen was outsourced from the UK and not his novel creation, the device was supplied to major law firms, courts, departments of the eThekwini Municipality and offices of the MEC’s in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zungu has been working on the PoEX Module concept for the past two years and prides himself in handling all aspects of his business.

Inkunz’isematholeni is a flagship programme of Ithala Development Finance Corporation that attracts youth with innovative and sustainable business concepts and provides incubation and start-up in their journey to becoming seasoned entrepreneurs.

“The project costs about R2.5 million for product development (working prototype); IP protection and marketing. This is where Ithala and programme partners, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) and Invotech stepped in to assist,” Zungu says.