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Tampa women’s center to host national leadership conference

Bill DeYoung

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When it was announced in March that the Tampa Bay Metropolitan area (including Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater) was No. 1 in the country for women-owned businesses, no one was less surprised than Ann W. Madsen.

As executive director of the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre, the only SBA-designated women’s center on the west coast of Florida, Madsen already knew which way the winds of business were blowing. The statistical analysis (and subsequent announcement) by the website business.org confirmed what she already knew.

Housed at the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women in Tampa, Madsen’s organization is part of the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC), a national network of more than 119 sites throughout the United States and its territories.

“The women’s business center provides both counseling and training for aspiring entrepreneurs – woman that are considering starting their own businesses – and we also help women who have their own businesses to grow those businesses, said Madsen, formerly Director of Advancement for the Poynter Institute. It is a resource-rich center.

The Tampa-based chapter serves six Florida counties, including Pinellas. Currently, there’s waiting list of more than 80 entrepreneurs seeking their services. Madsen is a vice president on the national board. “That’s enabled me to really learn about trends that are going on across the country, to learn about entrepreneurs, and about wonderful programming,” she explained. “So we think that our program is going to continue to grow here.”

Ann. W. Madsen (photos provided by the Tampa Women’s Business Centre)

The national AWBC chose Tampa as host city for its 2018 Leadership Conference, three days of workshops, lectures and panel discussions at the Westin Tampa Waterside.

The Kauffman Foundation, Intuit, Square, Ibisview and Fifth Third Bank are among the sponsors of the Sept. 24-27 conference. Sponsorship opportunities are available to Tampa Bay companies that would like to get in front of an audience that serves female entrepreneurs.

According to an impact study conducted by Visit Tampa Bay, the conference will bring as much as $343,000 into the local economy.

“I invited five women from this area to speak,” said Madsen. “Because we have a wealth of talent here, across all kinds of different areas of expertise. We were very intentional about including experts from different facets of business to speak at the conference.”

She’s proud that her chapter – which joined the national AWBC just four years ago – was chosen to host the Leadership Conference during the organization’s 30th anniversary year. That business.org designation clearly did not go unnoticed.

“It is a huge coup for our area, and for our Tampa Bay Women’s Center,” she said. “So I’m thrilled about it.”

Learn more about the national organization, and the conference, here.

Madsen and the other organizers of the Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre opened its entrepreneurial doors in 2013, but did not join the national group until the following year.

“We saw the trend towards entrepreneurship, and so we opened, as we do here sometimes, with no funding but lots of optimism,” she laughs.

“And then we wrote a grant, and were fortunate to be funded and welcomed into the WBC network.”

The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre will host an open house and entrepreneurial showcase featuring some of its WBC clients Sept. 26 at The Centre for Women, 305 S. Hyde Park in Tampa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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