Nominations Open for Minority and Women Enterprise Development Awards

TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland today announced the call for nominations for the 2023 Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Awards. These annual awards, now in their 38th year at Commerce, are just one way the agency acknowledges and observes the growing impact minority- and women-led companies have on the entire Kansas economy.

“Part of our job is to ensure we are taking ample time to highlight and celebrate the remarkable businesses and businesspeople that are integral to our state’s growth,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Intentionally acknowledging minority- and women-owned businesses allows us to recognize the valuable contributions they make throughout Kansas.” Presented by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Minority and Women Business Development (MWBD), awards are given in the following categories:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional Service
  • Retail
  • Service Industry
  • Supplier/Distributor
  • Business Advocate
  • Young Entrepreneur
  • Corporation of the Year

To nominate a business or person (self-nominations accepted), click here. Nominations will be accepted through June 22, 2023.

The Office of MWBD will recognize all nominees and winners at a special event this fall. Details will be announced at a later date.

“Minority- and women-owned businesses are essential to the growth and development of the Kansas economy, and this special awards ceremony will honor the tremendous accomplishments of these amazing entrepreneurs in our state,” Director of the Office of Minority and Women Business Development Rhonda Harris said. “We encourage everyone to submit a nomination of a minority- and/or woman-owned business, advocate or young entrepreneur who are truly making a difference in their communities.”

The awards coincide with national MED Week, during which more than 9.2 million minority business enterprises are recognized for their significant role in the U.S. economy. Minority- and women-owned businesses generate more than $1.8 trillion in revenue. They create jobs that not only sustain the individual worker, but contribute to the economic security of their families, and the economic vitality of their communities and nation.

The Kansas Office of Minority and Women Business Development also certifies businesses with designations of Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE). Certified companies are eligible to participate in public and private procurement and contracting opportunities where diversity goals have been established, and for business-related financial assistance programs. MBEs, WBEs and DBEs also can participate in business education workshops and seminars through the office. To learn more about the Office of Minority and Women Business Development, click here.

About the Kansas Department of Commerce

As the state’s lead economic development agency, the Kansas Department of Commerce strives to empower individuals, businesses, and communities to achieve prosperity in Kansas. Commerce accomplishes its mission by developing relationships with corporations, site location consultants, and stakeholders in Kansas, the nation, and the world. Our strong partnerships allow us to help create an environment for existing Kansas businesses to grow and foster an innovative, competitive landscape for new businesses. Through Commerce’s project successes, Kansas was awarded Area Development Magazine’s prestigious Gold Shovel award in 2021 and 2022, and was awarded the 2021 and 2022 Governor’s Cup by Site Selection Magazine.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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