image of award winning women smiling holding their awards

Winners announced for 16th Annual PRECIOUS Awards

It was celebrations all round as guests gathered to celebrate a landmark edition of The PRECIOUS Awards. Now in its sixteenth year, The Awards – founded by Foluke Akinlose MBE – acknowledge the achievements of women of colour in business, leadership and work.

Over the last 15 years, the Awards have applauded the exceptional determination, innovation, entrepreneurial skills, and talent of Black women and women of colour across multiple categories – and this year was no exception.

This year’s winners included FiveX More, who won the Social Impact Award, in recognition of the work the organisation does to highlight and change Black maternal health outcomes in the UK.

Evelyn Forde MBE, Headteacher at Copthall School won the Leadership Award for her commitment in championing the work of BAME teachers in the UK, acting as a mentor to many, and taking the issue of BAME underrepresentation at senior levels to the national press.

The final honour of the night went to social entrepreneur, Lorraine Copes, who won The PRECIOUS Entrepreneur of the Year award. After two decades in high-powered hospitality roles, Copes founded Be Inclusive Hospitality CIC, a social enterprise built to address the lack of diversity she saw in positions of influence within the industry. Through it, Copes has mentored people of colour, coached businesses and ignited conversations about how to make hospitality more inclusive and reflective of society as a whole.

Sponsors for the evening included Credit Suisse, Santander UK, Brand By Me and The Open University.

Susan Davies, Head Of Business Banking, Santander UK.,said “We are delighted to sponsor the Precious Awards again. At Santander, we aim to be a place where all our people feel they belong and are supported to succeed. We’re committed to supporting inclusion for our customers, colleagues and the communities that we are part of. The Precious Awards symbolise the passion for inclusion and celebration that we align ourselves to as an organisation.

We know that women of colour face additional challenges when it comes to running a business and we are committed to supporting female entrepreneurship by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance options needed to start and grow a business. Through our fantastic partnership with PRECIOUS and together with Foluke, we have researched the challenges and achievements of female entrepreneurship and women business leaders from underrepresented groups. With her support,m we have been able to launch our Financial Readiness Initiative, a business support program for UK-based SMEs founded and/or led by women of colour.”

The event, which was held at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London, was hosted by broadcaster and style and media icon Brenda Emmanus OBE and speaker, life and business coach, Rasheed Ogunlaru. Audiences were also treated to an inspiring speech from the event’s keynote speaker, Michelle Moore, author of the best-selling leadership book, Real Wins.

The full list of winners for this year are:

  • The Entrepreneur of the Year
    Lorraine Copes – Founder Be Inclusive
  • Social Entrepreneur of the Year  
    Dr Elizabeth Shaw – 1000 Black Interns
  • The Creative Business of the Year
    We are Parable – co-founder Teanne Andrews- www.weareparable.com
  • Outstanding Woman in Public Sector
    Lara Oyedele – Black on Boards
  • Social Impact of the Year
    Five x More – Founders Tinuke Awe and Clotilde Rebecca Abe
  •  Outstanding woman in STEM
    Charlene Hunter, 
  • The Leadership Award
    Evelyn Forde MBE – Headteacher Copthall School
  • Outstanding Woman in Professional Services sponsored by Credit Suisse
    Irum Malik – Head of Technical Advisory and Social Value for Mobility – Arcadia
  • Startup Business supported by the British Library Business and IP Centre  

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