MED Week: Better than an Oscar

One thing is for certain: If you want to hold an awards ceremony with some class, hold it at the Homewood Center in Montford.

Over 50 people gathered in the elegant castle-like edifice on Sept. 11 for the Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Recognition Reception; the MED board handed out several awards for excellence in minority business and community growth.

“It really puts the spotlight on minority businesses and let’s people see that they are here in Asheville,” said MED Vice Chair Sharon Oxendine, who has been on the board for nine years. “These awards are going to job creators, which is really important for the economy. We want to continue to give them the support they need.”

Award winners needed onto to either be an emerging business, or have been two years or more in business and shown community investment.

“[For the established businesses] we really look at thing like community service and job creation,” says Oxendine.

The night began with copious conversation and catered food, before moving into the reception hall for the ceremony, which had nine awards in total. After each winner in a business category was announced, a small video played, showing highlights about their business. Each business owner then said a few words.

“Honestly I was so focused on what I was doing I never thought about it as ‘oh, I’m a minority business owner,’” said Jonathan Scales of the Asheville Fourchestra, a steel drum/jazz band, which won the award for Outstanding Minority Business: Artist. “But I hope one day that this can be just the ‘business development award.’ Hopefully people will be inspired to do whatever they want to do, whether minority, majority, or whatever they are.”

“When I started this, I didn’t understand what workforce development or economic development was all about,” said Sephanie Swepson-Twitty of Eagle-Market Street Block by Block Industries, which does both those things. “Through the generosity of this community and these wonderful folk we have here tonight, I’ve been able to participate in this work.” Swepson-Twitty took home the award for Best Emerging Business.

“I wouldn’t change Asheville for the world,” said Hector Romero of Sanesco International, a biotech company that took home the award for Minority Business Person of the Year. “This city has been excellent to me. No matter how much I would give to Asheville, it is only a fraction of what Asheville has given me.”

In addition, Clarence Robinson of Cooking with Comedy Catering won Outstanding Minority Business: Restaurant; Fred and Jackie Baker of NC Brookhaven Behavioral Health took home Outstanding Minority Business: Service; and Victor Palomino, Sarah Nuñez and Carolina McCready of Chiva won the second Emerging Business award. Deborah Miles of the UNCA Center for Diversity Education won the Community Advocate Award, and The Support Center, a nonprofit lending firm, won the Lender’s Award.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.