Kanya King is one amazing lady. The founder and CEO of the MOBO Awards and is an amazing example of persistence over adversity. She was one of our Extraordinary Entrepreneurs at an event we held back in 2009 and is such an inspirational female entrepreneur.
Her father died when she was 13 and his final words to her were “be the best you can be”. She certainly took those words to heart.
She is one of nine children and grew up in a household with very little money to spare. She went to Goldsmiths college but didn’t graduate and got pregnant at a very young age. All this did not stop her.
She started working in television and discovered a gap in the market for for soul and hip hop music which she did not feel were represented as well as they could be in the music awards market. So, what did she do? She remortgaged her house. She put her life on the line to create an incredible business about which she was incredibly passionate.
She was able to pull together a team of people who worked tirelessly to make the awards ceremony happen. Her secret to success is passion, persistence and commitment. Through her energy and drive she was able to persuade Tony & Cherie Blair to open her first event for her and presented Lionel Ritchie with a life-time achievement award. The event was a huge success.
The MOBO Awards was the first televised event of it’s kind and is the largest urban music brand in Europe. It is now an interactive business that champions new talent.
She believes that there has never been a better time to be a woman in business (WE AGREE!) but we need to be more forthcoming. Women often have trouble borrowing money, embracing it and sometimes even talking about it. I agree with this wholeheartedly. By holding back, we are stopping ourselves from achieving what we are capable of and it is time to step up and be brave.
Kanya’s Top 5 Tips…
1. Be careful about letting anyone else sign the cheques in your business – keep a tight control of the finances
2. Work on the business as well as in the business
3. Your brand is very important – it needs to stand for your values and your business
4. Surround yourself with the right team
5. Believe in yourself – have passion, clear goals, and do whatever it takes, however long it takes to achieve your vision.
Here is a video of an interview with Kanya at the British Library a few years ago and you can hear her amazing story for yourself.