Mobile service provider Safaricom today pulled another hat trick by launching BLAZE, a communication and empowerment platform designed by, and for, Kenya’s youth.

BLAZE – which cost 25 per cent of Safaricom’s marketing budget to conceptualise, develop and launch – is a sub-brand of Safaricom, and has been created to give youth aged 26 years and below a wide range of products, services and benefits tailored specifically to meet their everyday needs, including mobile communication.

A first of its kind platform in Kenya, East and Central Africa, BLAZE is founded on what Kenyan youth say is most important to them: freedom, empowerment and success.

“BLAZE will not just change the future of communication in Kenya; it’ll change how we as a company relate with Kenyan youth,” said Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore at the launch, which took place this morning at the Michael Joseph Centre.

He added: “BLAZE is a platform created to empower youth, enable and celebrate their unconventional journeys to success and give them the freedom to choose how they want to communicate. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever done before.”

Subscribers to BLAZE will benefit from the most innovative communication products and services, including Create Your Plan, a service that allows users to control how much they spend on voice, data and SMS each time they purchase airtime.

“If, for example, you buy 100 bob worth of credit, you have the freedom to choose how much of that should go into data, voice or SMS, depending on your preferred usage. To do this, all you have to do is go to the BLAZE website and, using a simple slider, swipe left or right to select how much goes to each service,” said Sylvia Mulinge, Director for Consumer Business – Safaricom.

“Those who prefer not to do this online can do so by dialing *555# and following the prompts. Whichever way you choose to do it, you have the freedom to control what your airtime goes to,” she added.

The platform has been a year in the making, and will also see subscribers have access to cool branded 3G and 4G enabled devices such as the Blaze Flame, which will retail for Kshs.10,000 + a free selfie stick and phone cover, exclusively from Safaricom shops.

Safaricom is banking on the youth to deliver 25 per cent of its future growth, in terms of both customer numbers and revenue, by offering more relevant products and services to this segment.

Besides targeted mobile services, BLAZE subscribers will also get mentorship opportunities, with a lucky few also getting the chance to win funding for their businesses through Be Your Own Boss (B.Y.O.B).

B.Y.O.B, a brand asset under BLAZE, will consist of a series of countrywide youth empowerment summits and boot camps. During these, young people will have the opportunity to tell their stories, share their ambitions and interact with mentors who will inspire them and guide them on their journeys to chasing their passions.

These mentors have been drawn from various fields including the arts (music, fashion, photography, graffiti, film), technology, entrepreneurship and agriculture.

The B.Y.O.B Summits will also give young people a chance to audition for the BLAZE TV show, also called Be Your Own Boss.

READ ALSO: BYOB Summit Kisumu

This show will offer a select few the chance to compete for funding that will enable them chase their dreams and build careers out of them.

“With B.Y.O.B, we’re progressing beyond focusing purely on enabling communication. We’re investing in youth empowerment; in giving them a platform to express themselves in the most authentic way and supporting them on their unconventional journeys to success,” said Sylvia, adding: “BLAZE is not about conforming. It’s about encouraging you to ignite your spark, find your passion and chase your dream.”

Different elements of the platform will be rolled out over the coming months. These include a music app that will allow subscribers to stream and download music, and share their playlists with friends.

BLAZE subscribers will also have access to innovative new M-PESA-based services that will encourage the youth to take control of their finances, as well as BLAZE Bonga, which is a loyalty programme with rewards that appeal specifically to the youth.

“BLAZE will be unlike anything any mobile service provider has done in this region. We look forward to revealing more in the coming days,” closed Sylvia.

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