NAWBO Awards

The NAWBO® Annual Awards Program honors the accomplishments and contributions of exemplary women who have led the way in the women’s business community and are building a legacy for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Excellence. Legacy. Advocacy.

NAWBO HQ is making changes for 2024 to our in-person national events and awards program as we look toward 2025 and our 50th anniversary. As part of this, we are holding NAWBO Days (Leader Onboarding, Annual Membership Meeting, Awards Gala and Advocacy Days) in early June in Washington, DC.

For 2024, our awards program will focus on Woman Business Owner of the Year, recognizing an entrepreneur who excels at strategy, operations, finances, problem solving, overcoming adversity and giving back to her community. All nominees must be able to attend NAWBO Days in early June 2024 if they are selected as Top 3 finalists.

For 2025, we will return with our complete national awards program, including the Susan Hager Legacy and Gillian Rudd Advocacy Awards. Please check back for details on how to apply for these in the summer of 2024!


Women business owners are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. economy, and yet, we continue to face unique challenges in starting, scaling and growing our businesses—from accessing capital to winning contracts with government and large corporations to juggling caregiving responsibilities. Those who rise above these challenges to shine brightly are truly inspirational.

The Woman Business Owner of the Year Award recognizes a NAWBO entrepreneur who excels at strategy, operations, finances, problem solving, innovating, overcoming adversity and giving back to her community. This honor is not based on the size of her business, but rather on her overall business and community excellence.

To be eligible for this award, the nominee must be a NAWBO Premier member who is not currently a member of the National Board of Directors. Paid staff or contractors (i.e. W2, full time and part time, or 1099) employed by a chapter are not eligible for nomination. The Woman Business Owner of the Year award is open to any woman business owner that owns at least 50% of her business and actively runs the day-to-day operations. Only one woman business owner per company may be nominated per year. The Top 3 finalists and winner will be honored at the 2024 NAWBO Days on June 4, 2024 in Washington, DC.


Nominations of a NAWBO Premier member can be made by members and non-members. Members can self-nominate. All submissions are collected through this survey monkey link. Nominees can submit a maximum of four (4) supporting documents such as letters of recommendation, articles and customer reviews to [email protected].

When making your nomination, please be prepared to answer the following:

1) Briefly describe the nominee’s business and its history.
2) Please describe the company’s growth and how nominee affected/participated in that growth. (Please indicate growth by % or $)
3) Please describe how the nominee participates in the day-to-day operations of the business.
4) What community organizations has the nominee supported and/or participated in?
5) Why did the nominee become an entrepreneur?

The Awards Committee will score the nominees and submit score cards to one person on the NAWBO staff for totaling. The top 10 names will be submitted to Bank of America for judging. Three finalists will be selected from combining the committee scores and Bank of America scores. If there is a tie or close decision, the members of the committee will submit a confidential vote for the winner. The winner will NOT be disclosed until the award is presented during the NAWBO Days event at the Annual Awards Gala.

Three Finalists Receive

  • Profiles in NAWBO ONE e-publication
  • Customized local press release announcing selection as a nominee
  • Complimentary WBC registration
  • Seat on a WBC panel discussion hosted by Bank of America
  • National exposure on NAWBO social media and communication channels
  • Recognition as a finalist during the Awards Gala

Winner Receives

  • Honored on stage at the Awards Gala
  • Announced as WBO of the Year in NAWBO communications and social media
  • Customized local press release announcing award selection


A Legacy of Winning Women

Want to explore all of NAWBO National’s incredible award winners over the years?

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