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November 9, 2001

Growing importance of minority-owned businesses to be recognized at awards ceremony

When young brothers David and Rick Cantu launched Redapt Systems and Peripherals in the mid-90s, they ran the computer resale business out of their home.

That would make things a little crowded now. With $59 million in annual revenues, the Redmond company is not only the fastest-growing Hispanic-owned business in the state, it is the state’s fastest-growing small business — period.

And Redapt is just one of six companies that will be honored Wednesday evening at what is considered likely to be the largest gathering of minority business owners in the history of Washington state: the 2001 UW Minority Business of the Year Awards.

“The successful businesses that we’ve identified this year come from every region of the state,” said Michael Verchot, director of the Business and Economic Development Program at the UW Business School. “These companies — unlike some people’s perceptions about minority-owned firms — are nationally and internationally competitive.”

For the first time this year, the UW program identified and invited the state’s top 50 minority-owned firms — and CEOs of at least 13 of the companies will be attending the 7 p.m. event on Wednesday at Seattle’s Bell Harbor Center. The UW plans to devote proceeds of the event to scholarships for underrepresented minority students at the Business School.

Former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice, now president of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, will deliver the keynote address. UW President Richard L. McCormick and Business School Dean Yash Gupta will present the six special awards (list of winners follows).

Washington state’s 43,000 minority-owned companies make a substantial contribution to the economy, Verchot said, generating $11 billion in yearly sales and employing 90,000 people.
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For more information, a list of the Top 50 firms, or to attend the Nov. 14 event, contact Verchot at (206) 543-9327 or mverchot@u.washington.edu.

AWARDS

William T. Bradford Minority Business of the Year: RCI Construction, Redmond.

Rising Star Award: Redapt, Sumner.

Largest African-American Business: Smokey Point, Arlington.

Largest Hispanic Business: Redapt, Sumner.

Largest Native American Business: Colville Tribal Enterprises, Omak.

Business of Tomorrow: Nesby+Associates, Renton.