I Am An Entrepreneur

I am an entrepreneur, as are many of my friends, clients, and family members.

I am a female-entrepreneur, as are many of my friends, clients, and family members.

It amazes me that these statements have different meanings and reactions from many people. What amazes me even more is how little I know about the history of women in business.

As recent as 32 years ago, for a woman to get a bank loan to finance her business required a male co-signer. Thirty-two years people!!! My mind is spinning from this fact. In 1988, I was caring for one-year old daughter, my own small businesses, and a house. I had no idea that a bank could turn me down for a loan because of my gender.

How did it look for our female counterparts 32 years ago?

Not only would I have needed my husband to co-sign, simply because he was a man, I would likely have had…

  • A higher interest rate

  • A larger down payment required

  • A longer approval time

  • A higher standard of personal net worth

  • A much smaller loan amount available to me

  • To offer more security than a man

This could have been true without any consideration for my…

  • Business acumen

  • Experience

  • Education

  • Industry

  • Location

  • Personal references (especially if the references were also women)

In 1988, just 32 years ago, the first legislation to recognize the importance of female entrepreneurs in our county was established.

HR 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 (WBOA) was enacted to address:

  • The need for technical training to maximize growth potential for women entrepreneurs

  • Inequality of access to commercial credit

  • Virtual exclusion of women owned businesses from government procurement

  • Inadequate data on women owned businesses

I repeat, this was officially recognized and addressed during most of our lifetimes.