The H.R. 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 revolutionized the way women conduct business. Before this act, women couldn’t take out business loans in their own name and needed a male relative as a co-signer.

With the passing of H.R. 5050, women gained the ability to secure business loans independently, breaking down significant financial barriers. This act also established the Women’s Business Center (WBC) program and the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), both of which provide crucial support and advocacy for female entrepreneurs.

Key Achievements of H.R. 5050:

  • Independent Loan Access: Women can now take out business loans in their own names, eliminating the need for a male co-signer.
  • Recognition of C Corporations: Female-owned C Corporations are now included in Census Bureau data.
  • Women’s Business Centers: The program grew from four centers in 1989 to over 100 today.
  • National Women’s Business Council: This council reports annually to the president and Congress on policy and program recommendations for female entrepreneurs.

Since the act’s passing, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. has surged from 6.4 million in 1992 to over 11.6 million today. Women-owned businesses now contribute to 8% of employment and 4.2% of revenues, demonstrating the significant economic impact of female entrepreneurs.