Safaricom launch Blaze, a youth empowering platform

Mobile service provider Safaricom has launched Blaze, an innovative sub-brand aimed at empowering young people. Blaze will allow young people to learn new skills, while those already exploiting their creative skills, know how to take it to the next level through mentorship and training.

The platform offers a range of products designed for the youth, layered by Safaricom network. Various creative skills and professionals like grafitti artists, poets, musicians, actors and other arts and entertainment professionals will find the platform most useful to them.

Whatever you chose to do, do it passionately,

remarked Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore at the launch.

Blaze will be useful to young people between the ages of 10 – 26 who have interest in the creative industry. For Safaricom, they comprise 12 per cent of their revenues. The company is however resolute that these are the numbers of the future and if well tapped now, they are guaranteed to rip from this sh700 million initial investment, 25 percent of Safaricom’s marketing budget.

The young people below 18 years with sim card could get a Blaze branded sim card which will have all the Safaricom current features or they could walk to any Safaricom shop with their guardian, their ID and their birth certificate. This will allow the two documents to be registered so that the platform can recognize their age and allow them to enjoy the features.

At the backdrop of this initiative is the reality that 58 per cent of smartphone penetration under Safaricom network is by young people. In addition, these same young people also consume a lot of data, with many either being students or yet to secure jobs complaining of data being pricey to them.

Young people will now be able to create their own plan. This could be weekly, daily or monthly for the use of data. All they need to do is dial *555# to subscribe and follow the instructions. This plan allows them to choose the data plan they want with the amounts they feel comfortable with. In addition, before the data comes to an end, there will be a notification to alert the user,

explained Sylvia Mulinge, the Safaricom Director for Consumer Business.

Mr. Collymore was emphatic that the platform is the future.

Blaze will not just change the future of communication in Kenya. It will also change how we as a company relate with the Kenyan youth.

Charles Wanjohi, the head of consumer segment said that the company hopes to get 25 per cent of their revenues from this investment in the next three years.

A demo on how Blaze works.
A demo on how Blaze works.

The configuration of the platform is such that there are partnership with various organizations as well as mentors, who are young and accomplished creatives. Patricia Kihoro, Anne Nderu and Nick Mutuma are some of the mentors who attended the launch and lauded it for being timely to allow young people express themselves through what they love and do passionately.

Using bong points, once you register, the partnerships with various restaurants and movie theaters will allow the young people to access these goods and services and pay by redeeming their bong points. The mentors will be 20 while the organizations they have already partnered include iMax, Java, Planet Yorghut and Insco (owners of Galitos).

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

Marion Wanyoike, the Senior Manager for Youth Segment explained that they will be going round the whole country and hold youth summits and boot camps. These will be held twice a month in different towns of the country. In addition, the Blaze platform will have Do It Yourself (DIY) videos in it to enable interested people from any part of the country learn about the creative economy segment of their interest at their own convenience.

In the first three months, Safaricom will hold the youth summits, which also will become learning opportunities to establish the specific interests among young people. After which they will hold boot camps to teach young people.

A music application for blazers and saving option on M-Pesa in collaboration with a local bank will be launched later in the year.


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