We are unapologetic about promoting and advocating for women business owners and their entrepreneurial interests.
It’s in our DNA.
NAWBO was founded in 1975 in Washington DC when a group of women business owners were looking to grow their businesses. They were turned down for membership by the local Chamber of Commerce and Rotary club, who said “no women allowed”. These women started their own organization – the Association of Women Business Owners.
Cate Fulkerson – Points North Strategies
In the spring of 2018, I was invited to a chapter lunch and learn program by a business colleague and friend who was on the board and a sponsor of the local chapter. I just started my business and was looking for networking opportunities. I received much more during that luncheon. I found a phenomenal cadre of women who supported and celebrated each other in business and personally. All welcomed me and treated me like a long-lost friend. That is meaningful and immensely powerful. My choice to join came after one more lunch and learn program; where, my interest continued to grow as I learned about the advocacy effort and successes of this non-profit for women in business. This is a smart, powerful, and strong organization that any woman in business should join.
Within a year they were getting calls from women across the country who wanted a chapter in their city, so they changed the name to the National Association of Women Business Owners and started growing like crazy.
In the mid ‘80s, NAWBO leaders realized that to truly affect change for women business owners, they had to get involved in advocacy for changes in public policy. In 1988, they spearheaded the effort to pass HR5050 – the Women’s Business Ownership Act, which made it illegal for banks to require a male cosigner for a business loan, established the Women’s Business Center program under the Small Business Administration (“SBA), and required the Census to count women-owned businesses, which they previously had not been doing.
For decades, the NAWBO Greater DC chapter (also NAWBO’s inaugural chapter) has offered women business owners educational programing that enriches mindsets, events that inspire, advocacy that propels systemic change, and a sisterhood that supports and nurtures our members to become better, sharper and more successful business leaders.