Kenyan telco Safaricom’s youth network BLAZE last evening unveiled 12 contestants who will be taking part in its new reality show, BLAZE BYOB TV, which will premiere on Monday 6th February 2017.
The contestants were selected, Nairobi, Rift Valley, Central, Western and Coast regions include: Susan Mueni, Joseph Wanja, Paul Zakaria, Cate Akoth, Valentine Nekesa, David Kimani, Wayne Ochieng’, Sam Ngure, Susan Maina, Vinsencia Gisore, Keith Asumba and Lynette Achieng’.
The aspiring entrepreneurs are all aged below 26 years, and were selected following what the operator describes as a rigorous audition process which was carried out during the BLAZE BYOB mentorship summits which were held last year between June and October.
The TV series, which will air for 8 weeks, will see contestants evaluated on their ability to perform outstandingly well across a series of tasks that will assess their business skills, navigating carefully crafted challenges that simulate real-life situations, and working with mentors and established brands to earn the judges’ and audience’s favour.
With elimination each week, the overall winner will walk away with a grand prize of KES 5 million that includes KES 3 million in start-up capital and the remainder in the form of mentorship, financial advice and business support from Safaricom and various partners. However, no contestant will go home empty-handed, with each receiving a consolation prize that will go towards supporting their businesses upon elimination.
“Every year, over 800,000 young men and women enter a job market that can only provide employment to less than an eighth of them. We must find a solution to the challenge of youth unemployment by encouraging them to embrace entrepreneurship and create jobs,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore during the launch of the TV show.
Akin to some sort of Junior ‘The Apprentice’, which has been a popular American TV show for entrepreneurs, creators say this reality TV-show concept is designed to be relatable to a Kenyan audience, in line with BLAZE’s promise to empower the youth and teach them how they can be their own bosses, by encouraging them to earn from their passions and talents and igniting a spark in them to achieve their own versions of success.
A panel of three judges selected from media and entrepreneurship backgrounds who will guide the contestants include:
Trushar Khetia is the Founder and CEO of the Tria Group of Companies, which comprises of an out-of-home advertising company and Society stores – a retail supermarket chain with branches in Thika, Nairobi, Maua, Meru and Naivasha. He was listed in the Forbes’ 30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa 2016 list.
Kennedy Ombima, popularly known as King Kaka, is a prolific rapper and entrepreneur, overseeing a portfolio of businesses that includes artist management, graphic design and apparel under the name Kaka Empire.
Caroline Mutoko, one of Kenya’s best known radio personalities and current Chief Marketing Officer at Radio Africa Group. With over 15 years’ experience in radio, Caroline is widely referred to as the undisputed Queen of Kenyan Radio and a voice that inspires Kenyan youth.
“The selection of the judges was not easy either. These three judges represent what we feel Kenyan youth can relate to: burning passion for business, a desire to tread the unconventional path and a hunger for success. With Caroline, Trushar and King Kaka we’re presenting to contestants and the audience three Kenyans who are excelling in their fields, who know what it takes to succeed and who are willing to share what they’ve learned on their journeys to where they are now,” added Bob.
The BLAZE BYOB TV show will air on KTN between 8.00pm and 9.00pm every Monday, beginning 6th February 2017 and closing with a live grand finale on Monday 27th March 2017.