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Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988—30 Years Later, with Virginia Littlejohn

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Kelly Scanlon

Kelly Scanlon

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October 25 marks the 30th anniversary of monumental legislation. President Reagan signed HR5050, also known as the Women Business Ownership Act of 1988, into law on Oct. 25, 1988. The legislation is still considered the "Big Bang" of women’s business ownership. It removed the mandatory requirement in many states for a male to sign a woman's business loan, established the Women’s Business Centers, required the Census to count women-owned C corporations, and created the National Women’s Business Council, which reports to the president and Congress.

In this episode of Talking Business Now, I talked with Virginia Littlejohn at the 21C Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, as she celebrated the 30th anniversary with the KC chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, which was instrumental in the legislation's passage. Virginia was a primary architect of the legislation. She joins us to give a behind-the-scenes look at the effort that resulted in this game-changing legislation, it’s impact on women’s entrepreneurship and the issues and opportunities for current women business owners.

Virginia is the president and co-founder of Quantum Leaps, a non-profit global accelerator for women’s entrepreneurship. She’s served as an advisor to major international institutions for several decades, she created the Global Banking Alliance for Women and WEConnect International, which links WBOs to  procurement opportunities in 25 countries. Currently, she is Global Strategist for the Women and Trade Program for the UN’s International Trade Center in Geneva, and she chairs the U.S. delegation for the Women’s 20 of the G20 countries. She’s also a U.S. delegate to the Business 20.

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