Safaricom has launched the fourth edition of BLAZE Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) youth mentorship initiative in Kakamega County.

The Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) intiative features youth mentorship summits and creation camps which are focused on empowering Kenyan youth. This is done by providing valuable information, skills and networking opportunities in a variety of fields including: creative arts, fashion, film and photography, music, agriculture, sales and production and sports. BYOB also include a TV show that pits young entrepreneurs from all over Kenya against each other in a battle to win a grand prize package of Ksh. 5 million. The 5 million constitutes 3 million in start-up capital and the remainder in the form of mentorship, financial advice and business support from Safaricom and various partners. Season 2 of the BLAZE BYOB (Be Your Own Boss) TV show saw Brian Rono emerge as the winner standing after 10 weeks of intense competition.

This year, BYOB has expanded its youth engagement programme to 18 summits, compared to last year’s three, which engaged more than 26,000 youth.

“The fourth edition of BYOB aims to empower 1.3 million youth by providing access to a platform that allows them to connect, learn and showcase their talent. We decided to change the approach and increase the number of summits in a region in order to reach more young Kenyans,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer – Safaricom.

In a new addition to the programme, BYOB will introduce an E-sports tournament for youth who are looking at E-Sports as a career choice. This will be in partnership with Pro Series Gaming (PSG) and HEVA Fund. BLAZE will run grassroots competitions at the summits, which will culminate in a national finals where top gamers will compete for a Ksh. 300,000 grand prize. They will also receive an all-expenses paid trip to experience the ESL in Europe next year. Winners at the regional finals receive a cash prive of Ksh. 80,000. The E-Sports Tournament will kick off on Friday, 28th June at the Sigalagala National Polytechnic in Kakamega.

The first BYOB summit will be held on Saturday, 29th June at the Sigalagala National Polytechnic in Kakamega before moving on to Kisii, Siaya and Kisumu. Like in the previous editions, attendees will interact with local mentors who are industry experts through interest-specific pods where they will go through workshops and learn from the mentor’s experience. The summits will feature mentors such as Fundi Frank (fashion designer), Eric Musyoka (music producer), Nancie Mwai (fashion vlogger and retailer), Joanna Kinuthia (beauty content creator), Caleb Karuga (farmer and agribusiness consultant), among others.

To enhance the quality of engagements, BLAZE has partnered with Huawei, Google, IBM, USAID-K-YES, Wezesha, and other partners, to provide a mix of content, training and employment opportunities to BLAZE subscribers who attend the summits.

BLAZE is a sub-brand of Safaricom and was created to give youth aged 26 years and below products, services and benefits tailored specifically to meet their everyday needs.