The fourth edition of the BLAZE Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) was launched in Kakamega on Monday. BYOB has been expanded 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. In partnership with Pro Series Gaming (PSG) and HEVA Fund, BLAZE will run grassroots competitions at the summits, which will culminate in national finals where top gamers will compete for a Ksh300,000 grand prize and an all-expenses paid trip to experience the ESL in Europe next year.
Winners at the regional finals will take home KES 80,000. The E-Sports Tournament will kick off on Friday, 28th June at the Sigalagala National Polytechnic in Kakamega.
Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) features youth mentorship summits and creation camps all focused on empowering Kenyan youth to achieve success 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.
“A few years ago, gaming was considered a means of passing time, but today, people from all over the world are making a living out of it, which is why we have introduced an E-sports Tournament to affirm to the youth that you can commercialize whatever skills and talents you have. Our commitment is to support the youth in their journey to economic empowerment, however unconventional it may be,” said Ms. Mulinge.
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. A first of its kind platform in Kenya, East and Central Africa, BLAZE was founded on what Kenyan youth say is most important to them: freedom, empowerment and the journey to self-discovery, ultimately leading to success.