October is Women’s Small Business month and we’re celebrating the accomplishments of women business owners, especially our members. This month is a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of female small businesses and the vital role we play in the economy. We honor the talented and driven women whose entrepreneurial spirit has paved the way for us.
Speaking of those talented and driven women, let’s reflect on our history. Imagine… it’s 1975 and illegal for a woman to obtain a business loan without a male co-signer. Women who had dreams of being entrepreneurs at that time – only 30 years ago – had to rely on the signature of their 17-year old son, or an uncle with bad credit, to obtain the financial resources needed to start a business.
A group of determined women founded the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) to serve as the first advocacy organization for all women business owners. They led the movement and grassroots advocacy campaign to make change for women business owners. In the words of Dr. Terry Neese as she reflected on those days, “We didn’t know we were making history. We were simply trying to create opportunities for ourselves, our families and our communities.”
After 13 years of intense lobbying, strategic communications and grassroots political action, women gained the right to secure a business loan without a male co-signer, with the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act (H.R.5050) on October 25, 1988. H.R.5050 continues to hold the record for the fastest piece of legislation to pass through all branches of the Legislature and become law – 102 days.
NAWBO Columbus, founded in 1997, carries on the legacy of advocacy and equality for women business owners. During the early years, the vision and work of NAWBO Columbus was led by fiercely committed volunteer board members, some of whom have gone on to serve in leadership roles at the national level. Volunteers continue to support the work of our talented professional staff.
Today, NAWBO Columbus remains the largest chapter in the U.S., focused on empowering women business owners to overcome challenges and fully realize their true potential, while making their mark on the world. We serve all women business owners who want to grow – from the entrepreneur with an audacious idea to the business owner leading a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Owning a business is one of the most effective ways for women to secure financial independence for themselves, close the gender wealth gap, provide for their families, strengthen their community, and drive our country’s economic growth.
More than 40% of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. are women. We are no longer trying to crack the glass ceiling, but completely shatter it.
At NAWBO, we empower female small business owners through leading public policy, creating community and driving personal and business transformations. It’s why we really celebrate women business owners all year long.
Thanks for joining us on this journey,