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CLUB ASIA-radio station wins first prize of 20,000 pounds awards.


    LONDON, October 21 2005
    Ashok Gupta

    Every year HSBC scours the UK looking for the most innovative and dynamic new businesses and today two sisters, who have brought a unique blend of ‘Asian cool’ to London’s airwaves, have scooped the coveted HSBC Start-Up Star 2005 title and a £20,000 top prize.

    "Club Asia is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when a combination of creative flair, determination and sound business planning is used to plug a gap in the market with a successful new business. We help over 100,000 new firms open their doors for business every year and hope that by highlighting Club Asia’s success we can inspire other budding entrepreneurs to take the plunge and go it alone." - Simon Wainwright, head of business banking, HSBC Bank

    Sumerah Ahmad and Humerah Khan, the founders of radio station Club Asia, beat off stiff competition from nine other finalists, and an original field of hundreds of the UK’s most talented new entrepreneurs, to win this year’s HSBC Start-Up Stars Awards in front of 300 top business men and women at London’s Savoy Hotel.

    Sumerah Ahmad (31) and Humerah Khan (34) - both British born Asians – impressed the judges with their dynamism, enthusiasm and business acumen to unanimously win the HSBC accolade as the UK’s biggest awards recognising the most promising fledgling firms less than three years old. Club Asia is not only the first Asian owned company to win the HSBC award but also the company’s directors are the youngest ever to receive the title in its five year history.

    "It’s an amazing feeling to be named the UK’s brightest new business, it still hasn’t sunk in. Our emotions are running high; they range from shock to overwhelming happiness and pride. Above all we want to thank those people who made it happen, our listeners and clients, the Club Asia team and our families and finally HSBC for recognising what we do – Thank you all so much" - Sumerah Ahmad, Co-founder and creative Director of Club Asia Radio.

    "Anyone who has or is looking to start up a new business knows that it is a path fraught with challenges and we would salute anyone who decides to take that step. It is because of the hardship which makes this recognition of our efforts all the more precious. The commemorative plate we were awarded will be placed front and centre at our offices and the prize money?...Honestly we haven’t even had a chance to think about it. We can’t believe we’ve won and at the moment we are still digesting what this accolade means for Club Asia" - Humerah Ahmad, Co-founder and Director, Club Asia 963+972AM.

    The two sisters from Barking launched ‘Club Asia’ in September 2003 after finding them-selves constantly switching between mainstream and Asian radio channels, looking for entertainment that suited their varied tastes. They knew they represented a large sector of the community and decided to take on the establishment by launching their own radio station to fill the gap in the market.

    They developed the brand of Club Asia, representing a young, fresh, progressive Asian lifestyle, and then set about winning a highly sought-after London radio license. Their application was detailed, professional and well researched enough to impress the Radio Authority, which awarded them the license against seven other operators – including radio giants such as Chrysalis.

    Word soon spread among the young, urban Asian community and, in its first year, Club Asia became the fastest growing commercial radio station in London, targeting an audience of 15 - 44 year olds. It has exceeded turnover and listener figure projections and previously won an award as ‘Best Ethic Corporation’.

    The dynamic duo has overcome numerous challenges to bring their idea to fruition and, in doing so, has contributed significantly to the community. The business is not only a commercial success, but has a positive influence within the Asian youth culture. For Sumerah and Humerah this is more than enough to justify the hard work and commitment they have given to this ground-breaking venture.

    "The sheer breadth and quality of all the finalists made judging extremely tough but Club Asia really stood out and demonstrated the spirit of Start-Up Stars – they spotted an opportunity and made it happen," - HSBC’s Wainwright.

    "We know that going it alone isn’t easy and hope that the success in winning the HSBC title will help Club Asia go from strength to strength, as well as inspiring others to turn their business dreams into reality."

    • Club Asia has a weekly audience reach of 333,000 listeners (Gfk, May 2005)
    • Club Asia 963+972 AM is a London based station and is the only analogue radio station in the country specifically licensed to broadcast to 15-34 year old British Asians.
    • All shows are presented in English as this is the language that unites all the Asian communities
    • Club Asia is a radio station for London's contemporary Asians

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Two sisters Sumerah Ahmad and Humerah Khan founder of Club Asia- the radio station, wins the first prize of 20,000 pounds in HSBC's Start-Up Stars awards.

  • "Traditional Asian stations were catering for our parents, not us," says Humerah, 34, who handles the venture's finances.
  • Sumerah, 31, in charge of creative development and programming at the station in Barking, Essex, adds: "We are different to our parents' generation, we come from both Western and Eastern cultures.
  • "We're conscious of mainstream fashion, we like to spend but we are also sympathetic to our cultural roots
  • "Club Asia reflects that. It's confident, streetwise and media savvy. We aren't afraid to tackle difficult social issues."