CAMEO Celebrates Women Small Business Owners on 25th Anniversary of HR 5050

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Before H.R. 5050, the Women’s Business Ownership Act was signed, in some states a woman had to have a male relative co-sign a small business loan. The bill also established the Women’s Business Center program.

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Women entrepreneurs are the nation’s secret ingredient in the recipe for economic growth.

CAMEO celebrates that on this Friday 25 years ago (October 25, 1988), President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act. Before the law was signed, in some states, including California, a woman had to have a male relative co-sign a small business loan. That was just 25 years ago!

The bill also established the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program. In 1989, only four existed, now there are over 100. California has about a dozen, all of whom are CAMEO members.

“WBC’s provide a crucial service for women as they are more sensitive to the needs of women entrepreneurs,” says Claudia Viek, CEO of CAMEO. “Women entrepreneurs are the nation’s secret ingredient in the recipe for economic growth.”

More accurate statistics were used to count women-owned firms. H.R. 5050 required the U.S. Census Bureau to include C corporations when presenting data on women-owned firms. According to NAWBO, The National Association of Women Business Owners, by doing so, this data showed “more than double the number of people employed by women-owned businesses and one and half times the dollars in revenue.”

According to Women in Public Policy, the women who fought against discriminatory lending policies, also had to fight stereotypes that prevented them from being taken seriously, i.e. that women business owners were mostly crafters or "life-style businesses."

As of 2012, it is estimated that there are more than 8.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenue and employing nearly 7.7 million people. That’s according to State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

And the growth of women-owned business over the past 15 years trumps all but the largest, publicly-traded firms; whether you measure in the number (up 54 percent), how many people are employed (up 9 percent) or revenues (up 58 percent).

Woman-owned businesses are being approved for SBA loans in staggering numbers, showing a huge push towards encouraging women to invest and start business.

Today women’s economic power means that they are taken seriously, but there are still many obstacles, including access to capital, government procurement and growth.

According to the Kauffman Foundation, women own 30 percent of the country’s businesses; however, during their first year, women entrepreneurs receive approximately 80 percent less capital and receive only 5 percent of equity capital annually compared to male-owned businesses.

WIPP says “in 2011, only 3.98% of all government contracts were awarded to women-owned businesses – a decrease from 2010, even though federal law mandates a 5% government-wide procurement goal for women-owned small businesses.”

Growing beyond the $250,000 to $499,999 revenue mark and at the 5 to 9 employee size class seems to be a particularly difficult hurdle for women-owned firms.

CAMEO celebrates women entrepreneurs by working to change in the conversation at the policy level and ensure that WBC’s and resources keep up with the growth of women entrepreneurs.

About CAMEO
CAMEO is California’s statewide Micro Enterprise association made up of over 160 organizations, agencies and individuals dedicated to furthering Micro Enterprise development in California. CAMEO members serve about 21,000 businesses with training, technical assistance and loans. These firms, which were largely start-ups, support/create about 35,000 new jobs and generate about $1.5 billion in economic activity– raising state revenues, decreasing demand for government services and putting more money into local and state economies. Federal taxes paid increased 35% over a five-year period.

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Heidi Pickman
CAMEO
415.992.4484
Email >

Heidi Pickman
CAMEO
415-992-4484
Email >
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