Advocate for Entrepreneurs Salutes 30th Anniversary of Key Law that Ignited Women’s Business Ownership, H.R. 5050

By at 25 October, 2018, 3:09 pm


Members of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) led the charge for H.R. 5050, which was signed into law on October 25, 1988. (Photo courtesy of NAWBO)


Washington, D.C. – Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan issued the following statement to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Women’s Business Ownership Act (H.R. 5050), a law signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 that set the stage for the explosive growth of women’s entrepreneurship:

“Today’s celebration of H.R. 5050 is worth noting as women entrepreneurs are driving U.S. innovation and competing in every industry. This important law tore down barriers to capital access and training for women-led startups and small businesses, and gave women business owners a prominent voice through the establishment of the National Women’s Business Council. Not only has H.R. 5050 supported the growth of women’s entrepreneurship in the U.S., I have used the framework in my travels to help women’s business leaders and government officials create a positive ecosystem for encouraging women’s entrepreneurship in many countries across the globe. The legacy of H.R. 5050 is an extraordinary one, as the growth of women-owned firms has skyrocketed and the opportunities for new business creation and expansion are endless. We continue to work on key barriers, such as access to growth capital and key markets, but our progress is accelerating,” said Kerrigan.

On this day twenty-five years ago in the White House Rose Garden, President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 5050 – the Women’s Business Ownership Act – into law. The key features of the bill included:

● The creation of the National Women’s Business Councilgiving women entrepreneurs a high-level voice with Congress, the White House and Small Business Administration on policy development and recommendations.

● Established the Women’s Business Center program, which provides women (and now men!) with educational and entrepreneurial support.

● Required the U.S. Census Bureau to include women-owned C corporations when reporting its data.

● Eliminated the remaining state laws requiring women to get a male relative or husband to co-sign a loan, thereby improving capital access for women to open or expand a business.

According to research from American Express (The 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report), women started 1,821 businesses a day between 2017 and 2018. This pace is the fastest since 2002. Between the years of 2002 and 2007, the average number of new women-owned business started each day was 714. Women-owned businesses number 12.3 million (40% of all firms), employ 9.2 million people and generate $1.8 trillion in revenue.  The combination of women-owned businesses and firms equally owned by men and women is 14,622,700, and account for 48% of all businesses. These firms employ 16,155,900 people and generate $3.1 trillion.

Wow Fact: The number of women-owned businesses increased a dramatic 31 times between 1972 and 2018, rising from 402,000 (4.6% of all firms) in 1972 to 12.3 million (40% of all firms) in 2018.

Kerrigan served on the National Women’s Business Council from 2002-2006, and currently serves on the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) advisory board.  Read the NAWBO whitepaper on H.R. 5050 here.)

CONTACT:  Karen Kerrigan

SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. For nearly 25 years SBE Council has worked to successfully implement a range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startups and small business growth. To learn more, visit SBE Council’s website: Follow on Twitter: @SBECouncil 

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