NAWBO creates sisterhood for women business owners

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
NAWBO offers support for women business owners
Women-owned businesses now represent close to 40% of businesses across the country.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Women owned businesses now represent close to 40% of businesses across the country, contribute $2.7 trillion to the GDP and employ over 12 million workers. But getting to this point hasn't been easy.

"When I started my own business, it was a heavily male dominated profession," said Michele Schina of Schina & Associates CPA.

Schina is talking about the field of accounting. She says she struggled to find support when starting her own firm.

"And then I came upon NAWBO," she said.

NAWBO is the National Association of Women Business Owners.

"It really is a sisterhood," said Schina.

With 50 chapters across the country, NAWBO represents more than 12 million female owners. It helped Schina not only start her accounting firm, but expand and grow two more businesses.

"If I needed a marketing person, they were there or if I didn't have a certain aspect of the business, they would help me go find it," said Dr. Jan Shinkawa of Ohana Pet Hospital.

Dr. Shinkawa, who owns four veterinary hospitals in Southern California, is NAWBO's incoming president.

"Having more people in your tribe and in your community really helps you to get through those tough times," she said.

Schina says NAWBO also provided her with big business opportunities and clients.

"At one time, over 50% of my revenues came from the relationships I built at NAWBO," she said.

One of Schina's firms is dedicated to helping other women build their own businesses.

And as NAWBO's Philadelphia chapter celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and the national organization marks its 50th, both groups have that same focus and are looking to expand the organization's reach.

"We're really just focused on that next generation of women business owner," said Schina.

Schina is chairing the next gen initiative and says anyone who's just started or thinking about starting a business can join NAWBO. You can be any age from a senior in high school to a senior citizen.