The BLAZE BYOB TV Show was like ‘a one night stand’ –

HomeAboutTech & BusinessLIFESTYLEPhotography/FashionPOETRY LIFESTYLE The BLAZE BYOB TV Show was like ‘a one night stand’ April 18, 2017

Few people benefit from a one night stand, right? Or let’s just say only two benefit from the exiting adventure – ‘One Night Stand’. But the neighbors are always on the complaining edge when someone brings in a flashy and yellow yellow kind of one night. And because of some weird reasons, that night the two will make sure that everybody participates in the late night private bed games. Well, some neighbors have cardboard boxes on their windows that protect them from ‘fun noises’.

When BLAZE was launched in May last year, every young person wanted to be associated with it. The high school students would kill for a BLAZE t shirt and the thugs in town would follow you in every corner when they see you with a BLAZE hoodie – thinking you are a celebrity of some sort. The high profile and entertaining ads placed the brand on another level. A level that confused a good number of teenagers and benefited a few. The BYOB TV Show on the other end was not on everybody’s lips at the time. But it was highlighted somewhere on BLAZE’s website.

Now, it’s alleged that BLAZE was not a youth empowerment platform but a Safaricom tariff, or rather a tariff for people below 26 years. BLAZE has signed up close to 900,000 subscribers, with over 44,000 who attended the mentorship summits in Eldoret, Thika, Nakuru, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu. Of these, 778 young men and women auditioned for the BYOB TV show, then there was an intensive five-stage audition process that resulted in the selection of the final 12.

The tariff has a good number of people and the TV Show had few. But I wish it was the other way round. Let’s say 900,000 auditioned for the the show and 778 were selected because the BYOB TV Show was the only platform that could have reached to young business owners across the country.

“BLAZE BYOB TV Show is an amazing platform and I’m thankful for the support they gave me and the mentorship. But I feel like most Kenyans were not given a chance. Young people were left out. Unfortunately the ones who needed the mentorship could not access it. For example; I come from Kakamega and I had to travel to Kisumu to audition for the show, and most people at the summits didn’t even know there was a tent for a TV Show since the activities were just too many.” Valentine Nekesa, the winner of the BLAZE BYOB TV Show told Kenyan Story at a blogger’s meetup.

I attended the summits and I can concur with Nekesa. The auditions were sidelined in a way. In Thika Summit, the audition tent was placed at a distance. The other tents that housed silent discos and fake tattoos were erected at strategic places hence attracting many people. The few guys who auditioned – they found the tent by default and that’s the main reason why most Kenyan youth entrepreneurs felt like they were played or left.  (FYI – when I say Kenyan Youth…I mean the ones in rural areas…)

Anita Nderu giving a talk at Thika Summit

The crowd at the summit

And the actual TV Show entertained a few. I come from a village called Butali. Somewhere in Kakamega County and near the bushy Malava forest. Butali has hardworking entrepreneurs who even go to bed with their motorbikes and others sleep with sugarcane cutting pangas. These guys never understood the show at all. The only thing they try to understand is Sportpesa and Pambazuka National Lottery Show.

“I saw the BYOB TV Show advert on a newspaper then I figured maybe it’s a boring show like the Lion’s Den and other reality TV shows. If the organizers wanted to target young entrepreneurs in Kenya, they would have used people who are running businesses and then monitor their books and client service. From that, viewers are exposed to different businesses and the dynamics of a profitable movie kiosk or boda boda business.” A 24 year old boda boda rider from Malava – Kutima commented.

Other people thought the show was not original. It was kind of a copy paste from Trump’s Show called Apprentice – an American game show that judges the business skills of a group of contestants.

For BYOB TV Show season 2, it should be separated from the tariff and the concerts because that’s the only initiative that will benefit and mentor the youth since the summits are just concerts and networking platforms for young people.

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