What do entrepreneurs do when they encounter challenges in their lives? They solve the problems for themselves, and extend the solutions to everybody, in the process creating businesses.
Such is the journey of Bongajum Lesley Ndzi, an entrepreneur whose encounters with unreliable power supply in Cameroon and Senegal, coupled with genetic health challenges in his family, inspired him to start what could become a revolutionary solution for masses across the continent.
While in school, Bonga’s reading sessions at home were often interrupted by power cuts.
When he started the Bonga Juice Bar, his promise of fresh juice to his clients was often frustrated by frequent power cuts.
Bonga found the solution to this challenge while exercising to stay fit and avoid lifestyle diseases that had plagued members of his family.
‘‘Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed, it can only be transferred or converted from one form to another.’‘
That is the first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy.
Having realised that he could convert the mechanical energy generated while pedaling into electricity, Bonga embarked upon actualising his idea.
He successfully built a working prototype using abandoned car, motorcycle and bicycle parts from around his neighbourhood.
The Bonga Power Bike converts mechanical energy generated when pedaling into electrical energy and stores it in a battery. This energy can then be used instantaneously or later for lighting, charging phones, power fans and energy saving television among other things.
Pedaling the bike for 30 minutes produces electricity that will light 7 light bulbs for 12 hours, charge phones, turn on a fan, and power television, giving users the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and supplying their energy needs.
How was the concept of Bonga Power Bike birthed?
I started asking questions. What is happening? What is really happening to the energy that I’m burning? Because after each exercise, it was sure that I’m burning 500 or 1000 calories. So I start wondering what was happening to this energy or calories that we are burning in the gym.
How exactly does the Bonga power bike work?
As you start pedaling the bike, you exert human energy on the flywheel. This flywheel turns an electric motor and it is in that electric motor that you have coils, and as the coils are turning, it produces electricity through electromagnetism. And that electricity produced is stored in a battery., from where it can now be used for many things. It is direct current that you can convert into alternating current, like the one we use in our houses or you can use the direct current directly to charge phones and other electrical appliances.
The Bonga Power Bike has since won several awards including the NEXT GEN in the Franchising Global Competition, the GAIA AgTech Innovation Challenge, and most recently the 2019 African Youth Energy Innovation award.