Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) is an asset created and owned by Safaricom’s BLAZE youth network, comprising of three pillars:

  • BYOB Youth Summits – the first round of these were held between June and October last year
  • BYOB TV show – to premiere on Monday 5th February 2018
  • BYOB Bootcamps – yet to be launched

BYOB aims 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.    
BYOB TV is a one-of-a-kind TV show by Safaricom, produced in partnership with one of Africa’s leading broadcast content publishers: Mandala TV.

The show fuses entertainment with education in a reality TV-style format, and features 12 contestants picked from various regions across Kenya. For a chance to win a grand prize of KES 5 million, the contestants will be tested on their ability to perform outstandingly well across a series of tasks that will assess their business skills, participating in various challenges that simulate real-life situations and working with mentors and established brands to earn the judges’ favour.

The BLAZE BYOB TV show will have a panel of three judges who will evaluate the contestants’ performance throughout the season. These three will be joined by guest judges selected from various fields in line with the different challenges that will be presented to the contestants.    
The BYOB TV Show is one of Safaricom’s initiatives under BLAZE to empower the youth. Through the BYOB asset we are providing opportunities for them to succeed in their chosen paths, be they conventional or unconventional, exposing them to various career paths and giving them access to mentors and role models who are succeeding in fields such as  agribusiness, technology, music, fashion, photography, sport, media, entrepreneurship and many more.

Through the show, we hope to showcase the youth’s passion and talent in entrepreneurship, giving the 12 contestants a chance to win funding for their businesses as well as inspiring many more to follow their dreams.

Rather than becoming a content producer, our focus remains on our vision of transforming lives by empowering Kenyan youth, and we are pleased to be working with partners such as Mandala TV and Standard Group to make this vision a reality.    
We have 12 contestants, whose profiles you can find on our website.

The contestants we selected through a rigorous process of interviews at each of the BYOB Summits held between June and October last year. Over 44,000 youth below the age of 26 attended the mentorship summits that took place in Eldoret, Thika, Nakuru, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

Of these, 778 young men and women auditioned for the TV show, going through an intensive five-stage audition process that resulted in the selection of the 12.    
We have a panel of three judges, including:

  1. Media Personality and Chief Marketing Officer at Radio Africa Group – Caroline Mutoko
  2. Tria Group and Society Stores Founder and CEO –  Trushar Khetia
  3. Rapper and Kaka Empire CEO – Kennedy Ombima, aka King Kaka.
The weekly show will consist of eight episodes, and will premiere on KTN on Monday 6th February 2017 from 8.00pm – 9.00pm. The live finale will be aired on Monday 27th March 2017.

Those who are not able to tune into the show every Monday can catch it on the BLAZE and Standard Group online platforms, where they can also find updates and engaging content created specifically for the online audience.

Contestants will battle it out for a grand prize of KES 5 million, of which KES 3 million will be in cash while the remainder will be in the form of mentorship, financial advice and business support from Safaricom and our partners.

However no contestant will go home empty-handed, with each receiving a consolation prize that will go towards supporting their businesses upon elimination.    
Viewers will have a chance to participate in the show by joining the conversation on our social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), as well as our website.

We encourage the audience to vote and share their feedback, because it’s important to us that the youth have a say and are heard. This is something we also believe is an extension of BLAZE in that it encourages active participation.    
Unlike any other local production, the BYOB TV Show will focus largely on the contestants, their approach to challenges set, ability to adapt to surprises that simulate real life business scenarios and passion for business.

While the show will deliver great entertainment, it will also allow both the audience and contestants to learn something about entrepreneurship, with the aim of encouraging Kenyan youth to go out there and create their own jobs at a time when youth unemployment is at an all-time high.

This show is more than entertainment; it’s about empowering youth, and living up to the BLAZE promise of championing their success.    
We’ve invested a significant amount of money in the show, from holding auditions during the BYOB Summits to vetting the contestants, conceptualizing the show and making it a reality.

I won’t go into the details of cost, but what I can say is that we believe this is money well spent, and we have every intention of ensuring we follow through with our commitment to supporting these young entrepreneurs and helping them as they navigate the road to success.    
The network is performing above expectation, with about 900,000 subscribers so far and great engagement within the target demographic (aged 10 – 26 years). Our research on the youth’s consumption habits, likes and dislikes has proved invaluable to the running of this co-created platform, and we truly believe that BLAZE is the next chapter of Safaricom’s story. Stay tuned for more great offerings from BLAZE!