The National Association of Women Business Owners® (NAWBO®) is the voice of America’s over 11 million women-owned businesses.

Since 1975, NAWBO has helped women grow their businesses by sharing resources, offering education and training, and providing a single voice to shape economic and public policy. NAWBO is the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of women entrepreneurs across all industries and sizes across the U.S.

In 1999, the Charlotte-based women’s organization WBO joined the National Association of Women Business Owners to become NAWBO Charlotte. There are chapters of NAWBO in almost every metropolitan area in the U.S., and a virtual chapter, and NAWBO is represented in 33 countries across the world through its affiliation with Les Femmes Chefs d’ Enterprises Mondiales (World Association of Women Entrepreneurs).

Today, NAWBO Charlotte is the only organization specially designed to serve, support, and strengthen the 115,000 women-owned businesses in the greater Charlotte, NC metropolitan area through education, resources, connections and advocacy programs.

Our Vision

The National Association of Women Business Owners, Charlotte Chapter propels women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide.


As an organization with a customer-first philosophy, we:

  • Strengthen the wealth creating capacity of our members and promote economic development;
  • Support women business owners personally and professionally through education, awareness and a commitment to diversity;
  • Create innovative and effective changes in the business culture;
  • Build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliations; Transform public policy and influence opinion makers

NAWBO National

The National Association of Women Business Owners started as an informal meeting of women business owners in the Washington, D.C. area who met to trade information about federal contracts, bank credit, access to capital, and other business issues. Every few weeks, more women began attending the group and it became clear that there was a great need for a formal organization devoted to helping women business owners, so NAWBO® was created. Today the organization features chapters in almost every metropolitan area in the United States. By combining the knowledge, networks, and expertise of its diverse membership, board of directors, and staff, NAWBO works to:

  • Strengthen the wealth-creating capacity of its members and promote economic development
  • Create innovative and effective changes in the business culture
  • Build strategic alliances, coalitions, and affiliations
  • Transform public policy and influence opinion makers

NAWBO’s strength comes from the diversity of its membership – all sizes from sole proprietorship to hundreds of employees, every business industry from construction, importers, and retailers to service providers, and in all areas of the country.

Membership is open to sole proprietors, partners, and corporate owners with day-to-day management responsibility. Active members who live in a chapter area automatically join both their local chapter and national. There is also a Virtual Chapter for the women business owners outside 45 miles of an existing chapter. Discover more about the National Association of Women Business Owners—by visiting our National website:

Public Policy

Public policy positions on taxes, health care and attitude towards business can affect the vitality of your business and the places in which you do business now and in the future. You can help shape the future of your business and business climate by keeping up to date on, and getting involved in, advocacy.

NAWBO provides a platform for women business owners to come together as one voice that translates into a formidable economic force and an effective agent for change in the business environment.

Read the February 2020 National Advocacy Call Summary Notes here to stay current on our efforts:  FEBRUARY 2020 ADVOCACY CALL NOTES

NAWBO opens doors for women entrepreneurs by transforming public policy and influencing opinion makers, and represents the issues and concerns of small and women-owned businesses at the national and state levels.

NAWBO has focused on public policy issues of national and statewide interest impacting women entrepreneurs and small businesses since 1975. By attending White House events, providing Congressional testimony, holding advocacy conferences, developing reports, and educating members, NAWBO has consistently brought the concerns of women business owners to our lawmakers in Washington, D.C. In 1988, NAWBO played a key role in the passage of The Women’s Business Ownership Act, also known as H.R. 5050. This landmark legislation allowed women to receive business loans without the co-signature of a male relative. H.R. 5050 also created the National Women’s Business Council, a body of women entrepreneurs and women’s organizations that provides counsel to the President and Congress.


NAWBO supports federal legislation that helps to overcome the current barriers related to access to capital by women business owners (WBOs) and reduces the risk of private sector lending to small businesses. The major sources of funding that women business owners continue to rely on are personal savings, reinvested business earnings, lines of credit, loans, equity financing, and venture capital, in that order.

NAWBO favors a three-pronged advocacy approach in this area, choosing to focus on the various SBA loan programs, the Small Business Investment Company program, and tax incentives to encourage investment in the small business sector.


NAWBO supports achievement of the five percent Federal procurement goal for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and other steps designed to assure women business owners their fair share of Federal contracts and contract dollars. Failure to achieve the 5% goal has cost women business owners an average of $5 billion in lost contract dollars each year. NAWBO opposes contract bundling, the Federal government’s policy of consolidating its purchases of unrelated goods and services into a single large contract. Bundling limits the opportunities for small businesses to effectively compete, thereby restricting competition and increasing the overall cost of goods and services to the federal government.


Health care insurance cost reduction is a very important issue for NAWBO members. The results of the 2010 NAWBO Public Policy Survey show that health care cost issues are third only to the economy and business taxes as issues affecting our members’ businesses and their votes. In this critical time NAWBO wants to be part of the dialogue on health care reform. NAWBO supports legislation that will make health insurance more affordable for women business owners and their employees. NAWBO will consider and support, as appropriate, federal and state legislation designed to address the rising cost of health insurance by lowering premiums or creating tax incentives that make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for small business owners and their employees.


NAWBO supports fair and equitable tax policy for large and small businesses that fosters the economic growth of women-owned and other small businesses. Legislation should be enacted to ensure tax equity and basic fairness for all forms of small business organizations. The privilege of deducting legitimate business expenses should no longer be based upon the entity chosen to operate the business.

Where can I go to learn more and have an impact?

The following NAWBO groups and initiatives and NAWBO supported groups can help you act as a voice for your business and the businesses around you. We all stand to gain when public policy makes good sense.


Find out how to help elect the candidates that support the public policy issues that help women business owners.


Stay up to date on national issues and find out how getting involved with this national advocacy group can help your business.


Find out how to get involved on an advisory board or commission.


Find more information about doing business with the federal government at the following sites: | | | | |

NAWBO Charlotte Mastermind Groups

The Mastermind concept developed as a result of Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich.  The basic premise is that the combined intelligence, experience, and effort of people with similar objectives allow each person to be much more powerful and productive.

You can take your business further, faster, by surrounding yourself with the advice, counsel and support of a group of like‑minded business owners. A NAWBO Mastermind group provides a confidential, safe, constructive environment in which to support each other, collaborate, share experiences, learn together, set goals, offer accountability, motivate, celebrate, and more.

Each group is made up of 5 – 10 women. However the group is composed, there is a goal of diversity as well as similarity, without concerns about sharing confidential information with a competitor.

Interested in learning more, or joining a group? Contact coordinator Cindy Leap  at And check out these documents to get an inside look at the Mastermind program:

NAWBO Member Playbook| NAWBO Mastermind FAQs | Mastermind Application

Member Testimonials

  • As a small retailer I was pleased to find common ground with a fellow small retailer. I appreciate her reaching out to me to attend NAWBO, not only network and connect with other business owners, but for the ability to tap into resources that were previously unknown to me. I found the events very informative and appreciate all of the volunteers who are reaching out to the business community.

  • NAWBO has given me access to like minded peers in a warm and welcoming environment. As a business owner, I believe my time spent involved with NAWBO is a worthy investment.

  • I just joined and I already feel so energized! I have met a great group of women who are positive, motivated and vibrant. I can’t wait to learn all that NAWBO has to offer and I am excited to be a part of it.

  • NAWBO is an invaluable resource to my business. The members are outgoing and active in the community. Through NAWBO members I am able to expand the reach and influence of my company. As the premier women’s business group in the area association with NAWBO sets me and my business apart from others.

  • NAWBO has been my connection to the Charlotte business community. The relationships I have formed with other women business owners has opened doors to some of the top leaders in the marketplace. Additionally, the friendships formed are critical for my business as well as for me personally.

  • NAWBO Charlotte is a very active and welcoming group of women who care about the community and the importance of mentoring. The speakers and educational programs offer first hand insight and advice targeted to the female business owner. I have found this to be not only helpful, but refreshing. Connecting with new members and nurturing relationships that have been forged through NAWBO has been an invaluable pleasure.

  • NAWBO has been a fantastic resource for my business. I’ve done business with several women in our chapter, so the return on my investment in NAWBO is worth being a member. While NAWBO’s top priority is to educate and be a resource for women business owners to connect and learn from one another, it’s also a great place to actually DO business.

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