Equipping, Educating, Empowering
Did you know that more than 9.4 million firms in the United States are owned by women? And did you know those women-owned businesses generate more than $1.5 trillion in sales and employ 7.9 million people? Impressive numbers, considering until 1988, women had to have a male co-partner sign in order to get a small business loan!
The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) founded in 1975 to “open doors to women entrepreneurs by transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers.” While the organization began with 12 women, it now has over 5,000 members, fanning across the U.S. through its 60 chapters. At the local level, women gain not only access to other women business owners, but leadership development opportunities and encouragement for community involvement. The available level of expertise has helped propel women business owners to the next level of success by building an encouraging atmosphere.
Rachel Ashman, Expansion Director for the Matthews sector of the greater Charlotte chapter said, “NAWBO provides support and resources for success for women in business. It connects like-minded people.” These resources and support come mainly through monthly meetings, speakers, and just as importantly, the expertise of other women. “There are women who are just starting a business all the way to women who have been at it for many years and are in the process of selling their business.” They are diversified in age, type of business, and background but united in their efforts.
Rachel explained the concept of Mastermind within NAWBO. “A woman may not have enough employees to have a board of directors, so members join in to serve as the board to address business needs and suggest strategies.” Julie Ayers, past president of the Charlotte chapter said, “As a CPA, I am in a career that is still male dominated, so it’s great to have a network of understanding women to talk to.”
Matthews NAWBO members meet once a month on the third Tuesday , alternating between lunch and dinner. “These monthly meetings have helped me build a network of professionals who help me grow my business,” Rachel said. Rachel is a financial advisor.
Beyond the support, members are entitled to a number of benefits. These include education through the NAWBO Institute that offers cutting-edge business education, a PR newswire membership, enrollment in the Perkspot program offering discounts by over 500 different merchants, and discounts on Dell products and Wyndam room rates. According to their website information, membership offers women-owned businesses the best of all worlds–connections to a national organization as well as a local platform for their business and their voice and the ability to tap into the power of an already established organization.
NAWBO has consistently represented the issues and concerns of women owned businesses at the national and state level. Their vow in 2018 is to continue to pursue a public policy agenda that puts NAWBO at the leading edge of issues that impact their members while making an effort to increase visibility and credibility with the government, peer organizations, and media. Their online membership directory gives women the opportunity to update and manage their own profile and connect with the nationwide organization for purposes of business development and increased networking opportunities.
Some of the recent speakers have been Ira Bass, LinkedIn Expert, Carson Tate, international speaker, business productivity consultant and founder of Working Simply, and Dr. Pamela Davies, the president of Queen’s University.
“I have met so many great people through this organization,” Rachel said, “and at the end of the day, its all about connections.” Rachel can be reached at 704-817-3914 or email@example.com.