Simangaliso Austin Zungu - []

A technology fanatic from KwaZulu-Natal, Simangaliso Austin Zungu is developing a unique self-sufficient device for mobile devices which may possibly lead to the death of chargers.

The 34-year old father of two, Zungu, identified his passion for technology and innovation at a young age. 

“Since high school, my passion and interests were already navigated – either I enroll for a BTech in Clinical Technology or become an entrepreneur in the technology and innovation space,” said Zungu.

However, he struggled to find a way to leverage his passion into a feasible income. 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, Zungu then requested permission to complete the three-month course in one month in order to cut down on commuting costs. When asked how he managed to achieve this, he admitted that it was challenging. 

“I had to stay behind to put in more hours just so that I could study”, said Zungu. He then started his own supply chain management company, Sengwayo Group which is based in KwaMbonambi near Richards Bay.

While engaged in his business, Zungu then also 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 with 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 Britain 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. 

“Certainly correspondences of support for the product from the KZN courts and MEC’s offices which resulted in a bulk order was a highlight for me as an aspiring entrepreneur wanting to make a mark in the technology industry,” said Zungu.

The ambitious entrepreneur then embarked on an exciting project last year to develop a breakthrough technology, a mobile power harvester for mobile devices. Prior to the development phase, his idea was run at the technology station in Pretoria, Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). 

His device, under development, PoEX Module, is a power harvester which aims to extend the battery life of mobile devices. It is designed to be built into cell phones and tablets for a “continuous harvested and eco-friendly power on-the-go”. 

However, it will not require any electronic energy in order to generate power. Zungu says that it is a “hassle-free, no wire required and self-reliant power source”. He says that the completion of the device will take approximately 6-7 months. The PoEX Module is then charged, without having to connect to a centralised power source or to any portable power bank. 

For product development, including IP protection and marketing, it costs R2.5 million. Notably, his flagship programme is receiving part financial assistance from TIA, programme partners and Ithala Development Finance Corporation . On his advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs, Zungu says that people should be mindful of the country’s current situation. It does not allow for job opportunities. This is why he encourages people to be job-creators. 

“Look for something that can create jobs so that you do not have to depend on the government and also in order to be self-sufficient”, said Zungu. 

He adds that with hard work, determination and perseverance, you are in a better position of succeeding.