Foluke Akinlose

Foluke Akinlose

Founded in 1999, PRECIOUS champions the professional achievements of women of colour. We do this via our magazine, our awards, our network and regular networking events.

Why I started my business

As a child growing up in Manchester, I was an avid lover of magazines, but I rarely saw images or success stories featuring women that looked like me. It was as if we were invisible. I launched PRECIOUS to provide a platform for women of colour to be visible.

About me

I’m the founder of PRECIOUS, the leading online network and resource for women of colour in business and leadership.

As a journalist and editor with a strong background in digital and traditional media, I launched PRECIOUS in 1999 when working in the New Media Department at ITN. It was the first digital publication aimed at women of colour to launch in the UK and was hailed as a pioneering initiative.

In 2007, I launched The PRECIOUS Awards to celebrate the achievements of women of colour in business and leadership. 

In 2010, I launched the PRECIOUS Girls project which works with schools to encourage, inspire, support and promote the next generation of women of colour by providing access to positive female role models. 

I launched The PRECIOUS Lifestyle Awards in 2018, as a platform to highlight the achievements of women of colour in the Creative Industries. 

My main role model in life and/or business

My parents for having the courage to leave their families, settle in the UK and build a safe, loving environment for me and my siblings despite facing racism and prejudice.

My biggest achievement in business

Launching and sustaining PRECIOUS, the first digital magazine and community for women of colour in the UK. Providing a platform to champion brilliant entrepreneurs and industry leaders.  

Challenges I’ve faced in business and how I’ve overcome these

Access to finance has always been an issue, as has the fight to challenge the perception of what a business owner should look like. Working with organisations such as Santander to showcase and hear from businesses owned by women of colour is helping to change this.

Advice I’d give to someone currently starting or growing a business

If you’re thinking of starting a business, I would say go for it!

You learn so much about yourself and about other people when starting a business. It’s one of the best adventures I have ever been on. 

Find your tribe, a community or network, they’ll support you through the highs and the lows of being an entrepreneur. Also, whatever stage you are at in business, get a mentor.

Figure out what YOUR definition of success is. Define your blueprint for success.

Don’t fear failure. The lessons you learn from a failed business can help your next business succeed.

Find out more about PRECIOUS: 

Related resources

15th Feb 2022

The Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders' Mentoring Programme

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Help to grow

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Regardless of your location, there are many other schemes up and down the country that could benefit you.