A New Angle: My Runway Group on supporting young Black creatives entering the industry

Kojo Marfo launched the programme eight years ago and has since helped over 1,000 young people launch their careers in the creative industry.

6 April 2021

A New Angle is an editorial series that aims to give a platform to creative industry changemakers who make it their mission to disrupt the status quo. Each week we’ll chat to a person or team doing important work in the sector, making it a fairer place, championing vital causes, supporting underrepresented groups and tackling pertinent issues facing creatives everywhere.

This week we speak to Kojo Marfo, founder of My Runway Group, a youth empowerment organisation committed to inspiring and supporting young creatives. Kojo launched the group in 2013 after realising that emerging creatives from underprivileged backgrounds needed more support getting their careers up and running. The organisation has since worked with over 1,000 young people across a range of initiatives, from youth employability workshops to seminars. Here, Kojo tells us more about why he set up My Runway Group, the challenges he faces, and what the creative industry can do to help.

It's Nice That: What is your mission, and what about the creative industry are you hoping to change?

Kojo Marfo: We are on a mission to create opportunities for emerging creatives and Black business owners from underprivileged backgrounds. We want to see a modern Britain where equal access to support is available to all regardless of where you’re from or what you look like.

INT: Tell us about your background and the background of My Runway Group.

KM: My Runway Group started as a creative production whilst I was still a student at Coventry University. The goal was to give young creatives working experience before applying for career roles in the creative industry. Over the past eight years, we have produced multiple youth employability workshops, seminars and diverse creative productions, as well as socially impactful community initiatives. Our annual creative productions have attracted over 10,000 people and helped over 1,000 young creatives launch their careers in combined arts. This has been featured in various mainstream publications including the BBC, Evening Standard and Harper’s Bazaar. We currently have the very first Black concept store in Carnaby Street that stocks over 150 Black-owned businesses.

INT: What are the major challenges you’re facing, and why?

KM: Sourcing funding for community initiatives and overheads has always been a difficult task. We also work remotely as a team, and are currently looking at options that will give us a creative hub and co-working space for us and our community.

INT: How are you tackling these challenges?

KM: We are constantly seeking funding, and reaching out to partners and donors to support our initiatives. We also have an in-house creative agency, The Runners, which delivers bespoke services for external clients. Reevo Tickets is our ticketing platform for creative events that supports emerging event producers, as well as attendees looking for a one-stop place for diverse creative events. The funds generated from these services support the community initiatives we deliver.

INT: How can the creative industry help your mission?

We will be able to do more when we have access to more funding. Also by using our ticketing platform and creative agency services we are able to keep our charity work going.

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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