The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) began when a dozen businesswomen in the Washington, D.C., area met informally in late 1974 to exchange information on federal contracts, bank credit and other financial issues.
NAWBO was incorporated the following year and by 1978 the first chapters were formed with members recruited across the country. Today, NAWBO has nearly 80 chapters in the nation, approximately 8,000 members and is recognized as a policy leader on Capitol Hill where it continues to champion women business owners and their issues to lawmakers, the media, federal government agency heads, White House staff and the greater business community.
NAWBO has pioneered federal legislation and policy change on behalf of women business owners by making the case for adding women to the list of minority business owners, for the Small Business Administration to include women business owners in federal procurement assistance programs, and for H.R. 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988.
NAWBO has continued its political involvement this year, submitting testimony to the House and Senate Small Business committees criticizing controversial proposed SBA rules for women-owned business set-aside programs.
As a dues-based organization, NAWBO seeks to build a diverse and inclusive membership with the goal of increasing representation and leadership opportunities in ethnic and minority communities nationwide. It has an international presence in more than 60 countries as the official U.S. member of Les Femmes Chefs d’Enterprises Mondiales (FCEM).
Committed to social and humanitarian outreach, NAWBO formed WomenBizRelief and raised $40,000 to assist women entrepreneurs impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. NAWBO’s efforts earned it an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives.