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Bank of America releases the 2023 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight

Bank of America is proud to present the findings of the 2023 Women & Minority Business Owner Spotlight, an annual study which focuses on the outlook, insights and goals of small business owners across the country, with breakout sections on women, Hispanic-Latino, Black, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) business owners.

This year’s report found that small business owners have strong business expectations for the next year, as two-thirds expect their revenue to increase in the year ahead. Additionally, most economic concerns have dropped since last fall as business owners reevaluate the current landscape.

However, overall economic confidence has dipped since last year. Only one-third of business owners believe the national economy will improve over the next 12 months, and just 41% believe their local economy will improve. Business owners have also tempered their plans to obtain funding and expand their businesses in the year ahead.

In preparation for the coming year, women and minority business owners have several focus areas for their businesses. Nearly three quarters of women business owners plan to obtain funding for their business in 2024. Hispanic-Latino and AAPI small business owners are looking to broaden their educational resources to help them improve efficiencies across their businesses. Black business owners are bullish on expansion and revenue growth, while also embracing new ways of working. 

Whether you’ve been in business for decades or are just starting out, Bank of America is committed to helping provide you with the resources necessary to manage, sustain and grow your small business.

Success Was in the Bag for MAIKA

Four family members smiling together

Born into a family of entrepreneurs who distributed luxury bags, Viola Sutanto was driven from the start to forge her own career path. She focused her entrepreneurial journey on a variety of businesses in other industries, but as time went on she rediscovered her appreciation for luxury bags and returned to her roots to start MAIKA, a company that produces sustainably-made, thoughtfully-designed bags and accessories.

As a working professional, multi-tasking mom and avid runner, Sutanto wanted to create something for comparable individuals that was functional, stylish and affordable – the inspiration behind MAIKA.

“I’ve seen firsthand the quality of craftsmanship and love that goes into creating a luxury bag and I thought about how they’re so beautiful, but they’re not accessible to the average working professional,” said Sutanto. “The question became, how can we craft a product that is of comparable quality, functionality and beauty, with a more accessible price point?”

After starting her business in 2014, Sutanto initially prioritized her creativity and design thinking, but as the business grew and expanded, she transitioned to think more like an executive. As a result, she has been able to develop a global supply chain at scale with an assortment of products. While the day-to-day can be challenging, Sutanto remains driven to achieve MAIKA’s mission in her work – a mission influenced by someone near and dear to her heart.

Woman smiling while sketching

Sutanto’s daughter, Maika, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia when she was only nine years old.

During their hospital stay, Sutanto would give Maika a hand-drawn illustration of something that brought her joy each day. The spirit exhibited by Maika amidst such a challenging time led Viola to the realization that her business’ mission was to inspire everyday joy – the embodiment of why MAIKA exists.

While in the hospital, Maika was granted a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to create a mural in Oakland, which the pair designed together and enlisted their community to paint together. It still exists today. Fortunately, Maika has since recovered, but Sutanto remembers the joy the wish brought her daughter during this difficult time.

MAIKA has since formed a national partnership with Make-A-Wish to design an exclusive collection called “Maika’s Wish.” With every purchase of an item from Maika’s Wish collection, MAIKA makes a direct donation to Make-A-Wish so they can grant more wishes to kids with critical illnesses.

Close up of two hands holding up a bag

The charitable efforts the business carries out amplifies Viola’s vision for MAIKA – a lifestyle brand, available for everyone to find happiness in.

As Sutanto reflects on her entrepreneurial journey, she acknowledges the progress made by women entrepreneurs, while recognizing the work that still needs to be done to increase support and access to capital.

“It’s a good sign that more and more women are starting businesses now, but we all need more support,” Sutanto acknowledged. “I’ve been very grateful to have had the support of organizations that empower women, one of which is the Tory Burch Foundation and Bank of America Capital Program. This community really embraces ambition, and if more of these organizations were made available to women starting their businesses, it would be incredibly valuable.”

For her fellow women entrepreneurs, Sutanto wants to underscore the importance of community, knowing the impact it had on her business journey: 

“Don’t wait until you need capital to reach out to your community, talk to professionals and learn what’s needed to raise capital,” Sutanto said. “The same can be said for all aspects of your business. For example, always be hiring mentally, even if you don’t have open roles. Stay ahead of your challenges and it will be easier to overcome them and position your business to fulfill its purpose.”

Whether you've been in business for decades or are just starting out, Bank of America is committed to helping women and minority entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to manage, sustain and grow your business.

Download the report

Learn about the perspectives, aspirations and concerns of small business owners across the country, with a particular focus on women and minorities.


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