The BLAZE BYOB Tv show concluded this past Sunday and Valentine Nekesa a part time designer and model emerged the winner. Valentine walked away with a grand prize of Ksh. 5 Million that included Ksh. 3 Million in capital and Ksh. 2 Million in the form of mentorship, financial advise and support.

Valentine who hails from Kakamega, is a student at Mt.Kenya University. She is also an orphan who had to move in with her aunt after her mother passed away. Valentine plans to use the funds to buy sewing machines, rent a shop and hire talented employees who share her passion for fashion. While speaking after being declared the winner, she had this to say “ 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.”

Other winners include Safe Joe Mugweru who emerged as the first runners up. He made a presentation on growing an authentic Kenyan music label. He walked away with Ksh. 1 Million. David Kimani on the other hand emerged as the second runners up and walked away with Ksh. 700,000 to plough back into his business. The other remaining contestants also walked away with cash awards to help them build their businesses.

The show concluded after eight weeks of intensive real life challenges where 12 contestants battled it out for the top prize. The show is in line with the youth platform’s aim 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. The 12 entrepreneurs, all under the age of 26, won their spots on the show following rigorous interview processes which were conducted across six regions during the BLAZE entrepreneurship summits held between June and October 2016. The selection was based on the scalability of each business idea, as well as contestants’ personality and televisual appeal.

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.