RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Thursday night’s women startup event put on by The Indus Entrepreneurs and RIoT, the NC regional Internet of Things users group, paid homage to women entrepreneurs in the Triangle and the US.

RIoT’s Director of Growth and Communication, Dr. Sarah Glova, shared a news clipping of a 1978 advertisement in the Raleigh Times, posted by then female business owner Mary Diener. In the ad, Diener asked other women business owners to meet at her office to talk about creating a women business owners’ organization.

Diener went on to be the first president of the Raleigh chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, and Diener and other NAWBO members advocated in Washington DC for legislation to support women entrepreneurs, including H.R. 5050 – The Women’s Business Ownership Act was passed in 1988. Through H.R. 5050, banks were no longer allowed to require women business owners to have male relative cosigners.

Women’s PitchFest draws a crowd to hear entrepreneurs pitch their startup ideas

Glova pointed out that the ad asked women entrepreneurs to join Diener at her office, which was then located at 50 Park Office Drive in RTP.

“It’s amazing to think that just down the street from us, 40 years ago, women were meeting to talk about how we could create better opportunities for women entrepreneurs in this area,” said Glova. “We’re certainly carrying on their legacy tonight.”

[Editor’s note: Two tech organizations in N.C., interestingly, had women leaders – the latest Besty Justus as the North Carolina Technology Association which launched 26 years ago, and Monica Doss at the Council for Entreprenurial Development, now in its 35th year.]