Young people have a vision and have something more they want in life. Safaricom’s BLAZE BYOB TV show was able to bring this out among the youth, particularly in young adults between 18 and 26 years of age, who are always viewed as being more interested in partying and spending other people’s money.  The show was also able to portray a positive angle on young people and most importantly inspire others within this jurisdiction to remain focused and follow their dreams.

The BLAZE BYOB TV show ran for eight weeks where 12 contestants were taken through intensive real-life challenges. During the show, the participants were assigned different challenges that incorporated local unconventional businesses and brands with the judges; Caroline Mutoko, King Kaka and Trushar Khetia taking them through the paces. Waceke Nduati, Founder and CEO, Centonomy, joined the panel of judges in evaluating the three finalists. All contestants were battling it out for the top prize of 5 Million Kenya Shillings. Ksh 3 million in capital and Ksh 2 million in the form of mentorship, financial advice and business support.

Valentine Nekesa, a 19 year old part-time designer and model, emerged the winner of the BLAZE BYOB TV show. Valentine grew up in Kakamega after her mother passed away, which saw her move in with her aunt and her family of 13. She is currently a student at Mount Kenya University.

While remarking on the win, Nekesa said, “I am elated for this endorsement of my growth during the time I spent on the show. I have learned how to bring out my leadership skills, and these have seen me make it to the finals. BLAZE BYOB has been an eye-opener for the Kenyan youth, and the country in general; I thank my fellow contestants for coming out and demonstrating that the country’s youth have what it takes to lead.”

With the money, Nekesa plans to buy sewing machines, rent a shop, buy quality fabric and hire employees who will be particularly talented and share her passion for fashion. Creating employment is very important to her, as it has the ability to attract additional international investment into the current Kenyan fashion sector.

The other two contestants who were at the final leg, Safe Joe Mugweru and David Kimani did not walk away empty handed as they were given cash awards that will go towards helping them achieve their dreams. Safe Joe, the first runners up, won Sh 1,000,000 to plough into his authentic Kenyan music label while David won Sh. 700,000 to invest into his adult literacy program.

Sylvia Mulinge, Director -Consumer Business, Safaricom commented on the win saying “I would like to congratulate Valentine on her win; the change in her has been inspiring to me, and I am sure, to Kenyan youth countrywide. It goes to show that age should not serve as an impediment to whatever you aspire to be. We have witnessed the 12 contestants grow and the experience they have attained will not go down the drain. The BLAZE team will step in if need be to offer guidance and support in terms of mentorship.”

The BLAZE BYOB was based on a reality TV – show concept. It was designed to be relatable to the Kenyan audience its aim being to empower young people and set them on a path to be entrepreneurs by imparting them with the requisite skills and networks to enable them to earn from their passion and talent.

Valentine is a true inspiration of why we should not give up even when life kicks us to the curb. The show made us appreciate that young people are focused on career and financial stability and have the zeal to follow their BIG dreams.

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