The Women’s Business Centre is a program of The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, Inc.
Helen Gordon Davis, who founded The Centre for Women in 1977, had the foresight to create a place where women could find the support they needed to succeed both personally and professionally. The WBC is a continuation of the services we provide to help women in our community to achieve financial independence.
Our vision: Empowering women in business and achieving financial freedom through entrepreneurship
WBC Benefits: The Women’s Business Centre is uniquely positioned to provide women with the support they need to explore and actualize business entrepreneurship. As a client of the WBC, you will benefit from:
Welcome to the Women's Business Centre at The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women in Tampa. We are proud to be designated as the only Small Business Administration Women’s Business Centre on the West Coast of Florida. Our Centre services six counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Manatee and Hernando.
Women's Business Centers (WBCs) represent a national network of nearly 100 educational centers throughout the United States which are designed to assist women in starting and growing small businesses. We seek to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs who face unique challenges in the business world. What sets us apart is an individualized approach to helping women.
Statistics show that businesses with SBA support have a greater chance of success.
Our goal is to provide you, as a small business owner or as an aspiring entrepreneur, with the necessary training and tools to be successful. The Women’s Business Centre (WBC) is a one-stop resource offering a broad range of training, counseling, mentoring, technical assistance, and networking opportunities.
We look forward to being your business partner throughout your entrepreneurial journey.
Helen Gordon Davis founded Florida’s first emergency program for women, incorporated in 1977 as The Women’s Survival Centre and later becoming The Centre for Women, to support job training and placement for women at a time when divorce laws and societal norms made it difficult for women to achieve financial independence - a revolutionary concept at the time. The Women’s Business Centre, the first on all of Florida’s west coast, stands as testimony to Helen’s vision and abiding love for the powerful potential of women.
When Helen Gordon Davis moved from New York City to Tampa in 1948, her core values and activism found fertile ground. Already a fashion model, she became an acclaimed actress. She and husband Gene organized Tampa’s first public art museum, its orchestra, and its professional theatre. As a mother of three, she also urgently worked statewide with The League of Women Voters for social justice on many fronts, especially for women and children.
Why? Helen knew intimately about political, social, and economic inequality. Her father died when she was nine. To support three children, her mother fought through the daily humiliation of poverty, inequality, prejudice, and lack of opportunity for women. “I’ll never forget the look of despair on my mother’s face, every day.”
Elected in 1974 as the first woman to represent Hillsborough County in the state legislature, Helen used groundbreaking legislation to empower women and minorities, protect children, ensure equity and access for all and promote fair legal systems that work equally for everyone. Elected in 1988 to the Florida Senate, Davis served as a Florida legislator for nearly two decades.
Helen cut past differences to champion basic, equal human rights. In 1952, she was the first white woman in Florida to join the NAACP; as her views on equality became public, a cross was burned on the family’s lawn. As a lawmaker, she took on issues of rights for migrant workers and their families, organized and agitated on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment, and later stood up for LGBT rights.
Helen Gordon Davis is widely celebrated for her pioneering fights on behalf of so many. The equal rights and dignity of women, above all, have been her touchstone and will be her legacy.