Happy Birthday to H.R. 5050 – Women’s Business Ownership Act!

ByNWBC Council

Happy Birthday to H.R. 5050 – Women’s Business Ownership Act!

For women, entrepreneurship, and the socioeconomic advancement of our country, October 25th is a very important day for us all! Today marks the official 28th Birthday of the passing of H.R. 5050, better known as the Women’s Business Ownership Act (and the Council’s 28th Birthday). As a key day of National Women’s Small Business Month, we would like to celebrate the achievements of H.R. 5050 and the women business owners and stakeholders that continue to champion for women entrepreneurs all across the country. This Act was a decades-long culmination of motivated women entrepreneurs, key stakeholders, policymakers, advocates, and allies that saw the crucial need for equal access for women business owners and governmental support to women in business.


Twenty-eight years ago on October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed H.R. 5050 into law. H.R. 5050 officially:

  • Eliminated all individual state laws that required women to have a male relative, husband, cosigner sign a business loan;
  • Established the Women’s Business Center program;
  • Established the Office of Women’s Business Ownership at the Small Business Administration;
  • Established the National Women’s Business Council as an independent, non-partisan federal advisory council to the White House, Congress, and the Small Business Administration;
  • Increased the Small Business Administration’s access to capital;
  • Required the United States Census Bureau to include C Corporations when presenting data on women-owned firms, especially including women-owned C Corporations;
  • Directed the Small Business Administration to provide financial assistance to private organizations geared toward women-owned small businesses.

This Act was also supported by many – we honor those who have fought the fight and our current Congressional leaders who were vital in bringing H.R. 5050 into reality, including:

Sponsor: John LaFerla (D-NY)
Co-Sponsors: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA); Representative John Conyers (D-MI); Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN); Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH); Representative David Price (D-NC); Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR); Representative Sander Levin (D-MI); Representative Walter Jones (R-NC); Representative Fred Upton (R-MI); Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Louise Slaughter (D-NY); and Former Senator Olympia Snowe.

Here at the National Women’s Business Council, we channel the important accomplishments of H.R. 5050 and those who have brought us to where we are today. Each and every day, we continue to learn from the many female entrepreneurs that contribute to vital growth in our country; research and explore the critical issues that affect women’s entrepreneurship; and collaborate with vital players in Washington, DC and beyond to drive this movement forward.

As a big thank-you to all of you – three of our Council Members: Whitney Keys, Anne Shybunko-Moore, and Kimberly Blackwell have shared the importance of women in business and some special words of wisdom to women entrepreneurs – current and aspiring, that motivate us at NWBC. Be sure to check it out!

Lastly, our Executive Director Esther Morales will be speaking on the successes of women business owners and the Birthday of H.R. 5050 TODAY at the Women’s Small Business Month Webinar – Tools for Women Businesses Part 2, hosted by Small Business Majority and Accion. Be sure to register and listen in here!

Thank you for your continuous support and we look forward to continuing to work with all of you – happy 28th Birthday to H.R. 5050 (Women’s Business Ownership Act).

-The NWBC Team

About the author

NWBC Council editor

The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a non-partisan federal advisory council created to serve as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.