Kanya King: Keeping it real

KANYA KING.JPGThe Music of Black Origin Awards (MOBOs) are tonight, and the FT has interviewed its organiser, social entrepreneur and friend of Smarta Kanya King.King started the business from her bedroom, after noticing that British music awards simply did not feature music with its roots in black heritage. Nor, in fact, did it feature many black artists. She was inspired to change the situation.King re-mortgaged her house (and avoided telling her family that she had). At the time, she was a celeb-booker for a TV company, and used her contact list to find people who would attend and perform at the first event. And it took, she said, a lot of persistence. It was that persistence that got soon-to-be-PM Tony Blair to the first awards in 1996.As well as sheer determination, King advises being honest with all parties when you’re setting up a business:"Establishing credibility means keeping to your word, being responsible and reliable. We were very honest in our answers. As soon as we were able to confirm names and venues we told people."She also stresses how important it is to love what you’re doing. "You’re gonna need to work all hours, make sacrifices and be very, very determined.""It’s very, very important that you have varied expertise and that you get a committee that you can sound ideas off."And for all you soon-to-be entrepreneurs out there, there’s plenty of windows of opportunity. "There’s a lot of people out there who want to support up and coming businesses."You can hear more from Kanya soon, as she’ll be talking to Smarta about how she set up the MOBOs and her experiences as an entrepreneur. Watch this space!
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