It was a dream-come-true for a young person with the vision and drive to turn that dream into reality. At just 19 years old, Valentine Nekesa – a part-time designer and model has been unveiled as the first winner of the BLAZE BYOB TV show – the search for a young entrepreneur who would benefit from five million shillings in cash – including three million in capital and two million in the form of mentorship, financial advice and business support.
It all began with 12 contestants – who were put through two months of intensive, real life challenges to battle it out for the top prize.
Their last presentation focused on pitching business ideas to the judges:
Safe Joe, the first runner up who walked away with a million shillings, made a presentation on growing an authentic Kenyan music label
David Kimani who took home 700,000 shillings, presented his vision of an adult literacy program
Valentine is looking to purchase the tools to get her business going – including the purchase of sewing machines, the renting of a space, and the hiring of employees who will share her passion for fashion
All 12 contestants who took part were under the age of 26 years old, and won their spots on the show following interviews that took place 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
Caroline Mutoko, King Kaka and Trushar Khetia were the judges, who based their selection on the scalability of each business idea. Waceke Nduati, Founder and CEO, Centonomy, joined the panel of judges in evaluating the three finalists.
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.
According to the company, the entire concept of BLAZE was founded on what Kenyan youth say is most important to them: freedom, empowerment and success.
Over 778 young men and women auditioned for the TV show, going through an intensive five-stage audition process before the resulting contestants were presented to the public.