For Immediate Release: September 27, 2021
Contact: Zoey Butler
Strategic Engagement Manager
Office: (813) 251-8437

Funding to significantly expand engagement to female entrepreneurs across Tampa Bay

TAMPA, FL – The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women is thrilled to announce it has been awarded a highly competitive grant from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Technical Fund in the amount of $250,000. The funds will support The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre program for entrepreneurs and women-led businesses. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant financial distress on many businesses,” said Ann W. Madsen, Executive Director. “This much needed grant funding will support mission-critical programs for entrepreneurs and female-led businesses across Tampa Bay. We are enormously grateful to Wells Fargo for their consistent support of our Women’s Business Centre.”

“We are thrilled to support the Centre for Women with a $250,000 grant,” said Wells Fargo Community Relations Consultant Machelle Maner. “This grant from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund will help the Women’s Business Centre continue its great work helping women-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed. The Centre provides incredible leadership and coaching to business owners.” 

Since Tampa’s Women’s Business Centre first opened, more than 6,000 women have been served. Funding will support plans to significantly expand engagement and outreach to female entrepreneurs in the six counties served: Hillsborough, Hernando, Manatee, Pinellas, Polk, and Pasco.

“The current needs of small businesses affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency in our geographic region cannot be underestimated and we know that minority-owned businesses have been the most adversely affected,” said Dr. Kerry Szymanski, Director of the Women’s Business Centre. “Many entrepreneurs and small businesses are struggling to survive these trying times.”

Nearly 60% of small businesses seeking services through our Women’s Business Centre in 2019 are women entrepreneurs who fell into low-to-moderate income brackets. Within that cohort, many women represented minority populations or those that were socially or economically disadvantaged. Those businesses, and many more like them, are the companies most severely affected by the current COVID-19 crisis.

“This funding will make it possible for our team of business coaches to help meet the differing and varying needs of entrepreneurs,” Szymanski said. “We will have a particular focus on the unique barriers that minority business owners face, especially during times of crisis. Additionally, we have strengthened our diversity and inclusion by offering services in Spanish so that clients who may have a language barrier can still access much-needed resources.” 

Szymanksi said as the climate continues to shift, it will be imperative that services continue to be offered. Small businesses are still struggling and while there are those that have managed to mitigate some of the damage caused by COVID-19, many small businesses continue to require the tools to begin their recovery process, she said. 

Clients from the Women’s Business Centre are also able to benefit from other programs offered at The Centre for Women, including Counseling and Wellness and employment services. 

About The Centre for Women

Founded in 1977, The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women is a nonprofit organization offering a diverse array of programs to help women in the Tampa Bay region to succeed both personally and professionally. Programs include The Women’s Business Centre; Employment Services; Girls Enrichment Programs, Counseling & Wellness, Leadership Programs and Construction Services for Seniors.