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GoTopeka » Training & Events

Training & Events

GO Topeka hosts many classes, training seminars and events throughout the year. Many classes are put on by GO Topeka’s Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development that include FastTrac New Venture and FastTrac Growth Venture programs. In the Fall we have the annual Small Business Conference as well as the Women’s Initiative Reception and in the Spring we have the Small Business Awards events.

If you have any questions about any events and training seminars, contact Matt Lara.

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GO Topeka hosts training events and seminars throughout the year. Look at the calendar to find a class that fits your needs.

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If you have any questions or would like more information on small business and entrepreneurial courses, please contact GO Topeka Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development at 785.231.6000 or send an email to

Download the 2016 Directory of EMBD Graduates and Certified MBE/DBE/WBE Businesses here.

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Third Annual Women of Influence Award

Couldn’t make it to the reception, you can watch it here!

Congratulations to all that were nominated and congratulations to our six winners.

  • Carol Bradbury – Community Service
  • Pam McComas – Education
  • Angel Zimmerman – Mentorship
  • Barbara Ebert – Outstanding Entreprenership
  • Christie Appelhanz – Rising Star
  • Joan Wagnon – Woman of Achievement.

The keynote speaker was Priti Lakhani, executive physician at Cerner Corp.

When Priti Lakhani was seven, she immigrated to the rural town of Tecumseh, Kansas from one of the most populous cities in the world, Mumbai.  Serious culture shock ensued. She graduated from Shawnee Heights, and Washburn where she was a proud member of the Honor Society (Nonoso), as well The Biology Club.   She tried to obtain her MRS degree, but her then boyfriend, Mark Manna, wouldn’t comply.  Dejected, she chose to go to medical school.  After finishing, she moved to New York City to do her residency at NYU. Small town girl in a big city dreams helped her cultivate her city girl roots and live out her Carrie Bradshaw fantasy, (excepting the stilettos, after all, she is a podiatrist).   Eight years after she began, she was granted her MRS degree, when Mark finally agreed to marry her.

She moved back to Kansas, donned her rose colored glasses and began her practice.  Serious culture shock ensued.  Working in Topeka was very unlike working in New York, especially for a woman of color.  She quickly realized she wanted to affect change on a larger scale.  The challenges she faced encouraged her to return to school to obtain a Master’s in Healthcare Management at Harvard. While in Boston, she served as a Clinical Advisor to a medical start up at MIT, worked with NFL quarterbacks, wrote an award winning paper on the virtues of pizza, began a maternal fetal mortality decrease project in East Africa, and became fast friends with her 23 global physician class mates.  During those transformative cosmopolitan years, she traveled viewing healthcare in all its wonder and disparities.  Her epiphany came in a Massai village in sub-Saharan Africa as she was holding a baby she helped to deliver:  to change the world she needed to do more than see patients.  She now works for Cerner, a global healthcare company, advising major worldwide hospital corporations on everything from strategy, financials, governance and her personal favorite, patient experience and safety.  This is her goal now; exponential impact on patient care.  In her free time, Priti enjoys music (especially rap), piloting a Cessna, annoying her ever patient husband, dancing in the living room with her 13 year old son, and questioning the status quo.

Past Award Winners:


Community Service – Glenda DuBoise
Education – Joanna Lassley
Mentorship – Cindy Barry
Outstanding Entrepreneur – Diana Ramirez
Rising Star – Sarah Fizell
Woman of Achievement – Amanda Kiefer


Community Service – Anita Wolgast
Education – Dr. Beryl New
Mentorship – Justice Marla Lukert
Outstanding Entrepreneur – Martha Piland
Rising Star – Stephanie Heston
Woman of Achievement – Dr. Brenda Dietrich

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Small Business Awards

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, GO Topeka and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce will recognize local businesses, a nonprofit agency and a small business advocate for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the Shawnee County Community.

Secretary Antonio Soave, Kansas Department of Commerce, will be our keynote speaker. Congratulations to our finalists.

  • Emerging Entrepreneur of Distinction – Successful business owner who has been in business one to two years.
    • Crescent Foundry, LLC dba The Foundry
    • Norsemen Brewing Company
    • Shana Cakes, LLC
  • Non-Profit Award of Distinction – Must be legally formed as one of the following: 501(c)3, 501(c)4, 501(c)5, 501(c)6.
    • Boys and Girls Club of Topeka
    • Topeka Rescue Mission, Inc.
    • YWCA of NE Kansas
  • Minority and Women Owned Business of Distinction – A minority-owned business is a business that is at least 51% owned and operated by one of the following: Native American, Hispanic/Latino, African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander or Subcontinent Asian. A woman-owned business is a business that is at least 51% owned and operated by a female.
    • Finding My Way Books
    • Prairie Glass Studio
    • Oasis Family Medicine Associates, LLC
  • Capital City Business of Distinction – An individual who owns 51% of a small business and is responsible for the principal operations of the small business
    • Envista Credit Union
    • HME, Inc. – Haas Metal Engineering
    • Sprout Communication, LLC
  • Small Business Advocate – Provides technical assistance to small businesses, supports the development of entrepreneurs or raises the awareness about the importance of small businesses to the community.
    • Create Uplift, LLC
    • Jenny Torrence – Owner, Serendipity, Pinkadilly, NOTO Burrito
    • TK Business Magazine, Inc.

Click here to register. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, contact Glenda Washington.


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Washburn Center for Organizational Excellence

CFOE Logo 2015_003The Washburn University Center for Organizational Excellence offers quality education and consultation services responsive to organizations of sizes and all types: service, manufacturing, government, education, non-profit, and others. The Center serves as a resource to the community, the region and beyond by providing professional development and consultation to enhance professional competence and organizational capacity.

Facilitating the University’s goal of “learning for a lifetime”, the Center provides opportunities for enhanced understanding, skill development, and applications that can effect change and support continuous improvement at both the individual and organizational levels.

Formed in partnership between the Washburn University School of Business, Office of Graduate Programs and Academic OutreachGOTopeka, and Crimson Corporation, the Center offers quality education and consultation services responsive to organizations of all sizes and types: service, manufacturing, government, education, non-profit, and others.

For more information click here.

Non-Profit and Small business scholarship pROGRAM

Recognizing that there are many small organizations that can benefit from the portfolio of the programs offered by the Center, but that may not have sufficient financial resources, Washburn and GO Topeka have partnered to offer financial assistance to non-profits (501c3 or 501c6) and small businesses who have participated in the Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development (EMBD) program.  For more information click here.

To register for a class or workshop with the Entrepreneurial, Minority & Small Business Development (EMBD) Program, please check the calendar of events for upcoming trainings

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Washburn Tech Programs

Washburn TechGO Topeka recognizes community members may want to start a new career, change careers or update their current skills.  We offer support  through a variety of initiatives and programs partnered with Washburn Tech to serve the Topeka and Shawnee County community.

The Joint Economic Development Organization/GO Topeka Scholarship provides eligible Washburn Tech students enrolled in high demand career programs with scholarships ranging from $250-$500 per semester.  More information about the scholarship opportunity may be found here.

GO Topeka is also pleased to provide marketing and recruitment support to the partnership between Washburn Tech and BNSF to offer NARS-certified curriculum (National Academy of Railroad Sciences) in their Locomotive Diesel Technician program.

In addition, Washburn Tech, in partnership with GO Topeka and in cooperation with area food manufacturers, offers the pilot Manufacturing Technology or M-Tech training initiative.  The program provides intensive technology training to workers and links them to good jobs in the food manufacturing field.  Graduates are prepared for entry-level production positions and are prepared to earn the Certified Production Technician national industry credential.

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