Guests gathered to celebrate the 2021 Precious Awards finalists and winners. Now in its fifteenth year The Precious Awards – founded by Foluke Akinlose MBE – acknowledges the achievements of women of colour in business.
The Awards recognise exceptional determination, innovation, entrepreneurial skills, and talent across multiple categories and this year was no exception. Winners included Kayleigh Benoit of BIND London, a fitness and at leisure, brand specialising in headwear that caters to all hair types and textures, The Independent’s Race Correspondent, Nadine White, who won in the Social Impact category and Charlene Hunter of Coding Black Females, a non-profit set to inspire, provide opportunities and showcase the talents of Black women in tech.
Sunita Toor, Head of Human Rights and Social Justice at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice was also recognised for her work including her project Justice For Her. Justice For Her focuses on combating gender-based violence and supports female victims in India. Her work has transformed police training and overhauled the curriculum in Indian Police academies.
For the first time in Precious Awards history, two women won the award for Small Business of the Year. THC Primary Care – founded by Tara Humphrey – is a leading healthcare consultancy that specialises in management training. They also support GP federations in the implementation of clinical services. She shared the award with Mercedes Benson of Social Fixt, a recruitment and job-board platform which aims to connect Black talent to career opportunities within the creative industries.
The final honour of the night went to businesswoman, former journalist and Master of Jesus College, Cambridge Sonita Alleyne OBE who won the Woman of the Year award. Ms Alleyne’s most recent achievement includes her decision for Jesus College to be the first institution in the world to return a Benin Bronze to its home country of Nigeria.
The event, which was held at The Waldorf in London, was hosted by author and founder of The Purpose Academy Jessica Huie MBE and speaker, life and business coach Rasheed Ogunlaru. Audiences were also treated to an inspiring speech from the event’s keynote speaker, barrister, and the author of In Black and White, Alexandra Wilson.
The full list of winners for this year are:
- Startup Business supported by the British Library Business and IP Centre
Kayleigh Benoit, BIND London
- Social Entrepreneur of the Year
Danielle Bridge, ABC Life Support CIC
- Creative Business of the Year
Jasmine Richards, Storymix
- Outstanding Woman in Public Sector
Sunita Toor, Head of Human Rights and Social Justice at the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice, Sheffield Hallam University.
- Social Advocate of the Year
Nadine White, Race Correspondent at The Independent
- Outstanding woman in STEM
Charlene Hunter, Coding Black Females
- Outstanding Woman in Professional Services sponsored by Baker McKenzie
Sally Penni MBE
- Small Business of the Year Award
Tara Humphrey, THC Primary Care
Mercedes Benson, SocialFixt
- Woman of the Year
Sonita Alleyne OBE
“I launched the Precious Awards because I was tired of attending events recognizing women in business and never seeing any women of colour on the platform.” said Precious Awards Founder Foluke Akinlose MBE. “The Awards are not just about one evening; it’s about the continued support for all our finalists and the continued push to ensure that our voices are heard. I want to share my hope that what we and others have been doing – shining the spotlight on the achievements of women of colour – will truly see a groundswell of lasting change”
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