There’s a time and place for everything, and for our #NAWBOVoice that speaks out for not only the thousands of NAWBO members across the country, but also for America’s millions of women and small business owners, the pandemic presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for our voice to have incredible reach and impact.
It’s been decades in the making. NAWBO was founded in 1975 to be the first advocacy organization for all women business owners. In the beginning, there were just 12 trailblazing women who met informally in the D.C. area to share information about federal contracts, access to capital and other issues related to their businesses. These advocacy roots have only strengthened and deepened into today’s widely respected #NAWBOVoice that’s bi-partisan by design.
Over the past year and several months, NAWBO has really ramped up our efforts to support and speak out on behalf of our community at a time when these women have needed us most. We have asked them to share their business stories and challenges, surveyed them on the impacts of COVID-19 and helped them navigate COVID relief and other opportunities to access capital.
One of our greatest wins was asking for outreach specific to women and minorities, which was met with law mapping out a targeted approach to help these demographics through funding for Minority Business Development Centers, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) set-asides and more. Another major “ask” was to fix tax concerns with forgiven PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances, which led to law clarifying many provisions.
Additionally, we used our #NAWBOVoice to impact:
- A second round of PPP
- Expansion of eligible expenses for PPP
- Simplified application process
- And more
Sometimes it can seem daunting to speak out if you’re not familiar with advocacy and how it works. Or you don’t feel like your one voice matters. Or you just don’t think you can find the time to get involved in one more thing. But it does…and you can. Here are a few simple tips to help you make a difference:
1) Don’t go it alone: Get involved in advocacy within your chapter and stay informed at the national level by taking part in monthly advocacy calls and attending Virtual Advocacy Days (see coverage in this month’s issue of NAWBO ONE).
2) Start simple: Are you having a pain in your business that you’re hearing other NAWBO sisters are experiencing too? Reach out to someone with the power to help fix it. Call or write to your city’s major, your state governor, your local Congressperson, etc. You might be surprised by how open they are to your ideas and feedback.
3) Be heard by NAWBO: Data is extremely powerful when we’re using our #NAWBOVoice on behalf of America’s women business owners. Make sure you are heard at every opportunity so NAWBO can continue to advocate for you. Update your member profile on our website, take our surveys, send us your stories…what you have to say informs our actions and decisions.
Remember, your voice matters; it’s part of our advocacy roots that will only continue to strengthen and grow deeper.