Gwendolyn Givens-Jones, senior vice president and senior relationship manager of Bank of America Los Angeles  (Courtesy Photo)

  The recent report shows small and mid-size businesses anticipate better times ahead.

The economy currently has many in a quandary, but it seems light is starting to gleam for business owners. According to the 2024 Bank of America Business Owner Report, which was conducted in partnership with Bank of America Institute, small and mid-size business owners have a more optimistic outlook on their future.

“The majority of what our business report found, the majority of our businesses expect revenue growth and owners say recession worries have resided, but that outlook did seem to vary by the size of the company,” said Gwendolyn Givens-Jones, a senior vice president and senior relationship manager of Bank of America here in Los Angeles.

“So, when you look, mid-size companies were very confident on growth, hiring, revenues, they were very optimistic, while smaller sized companies reported taking more of a cautious approach for the remainder of the year.”

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Although business owners remain mindful of inflation and interest rates, according to the report, their concerns have lessened since Spring 2023. The 2024 Bank of America Business Owner Report includes input from more than 1,400 small and mid-sized business owners (defined as businesses with $100,000 to $5 million and $5 million to $50 million in annual revenues, respectively). The report explores the viewpoints, goals, concerns and outlooks of business owners nationwide.

Givens-Jones has been with Bank of America 44 years as a relationship manager and in business banking for 18 years. The businesses Givens-Jones works with have generated a revenue stream from $5 to $15,000,000. She spoke about what the survey had to say and how Bank of America helps small and BIPOC businesses of color.

“I’m thinking, in working with our business clients here in L.A., there’s a few reasons for this confidence,” said Givens-Jones. “I think coming out of the pandemic, businesses are more resilient now.”

She continued, “The economy is so vibrant and it’s stronger here with incredible resources like GLAAACC [Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce].

“We have the Black Executive Leadership Council, which is made-up of a variety of businesses.”

Nyakio Grieco, co-owner of Thirteen Lune  (Courtesy Photo)

Bank of America working with organizations like GLAAACC and the Black Executive Leadership Council help provide business owners with education through seminars and more, which will help them grow their businesses.

“I have spent over 30 years championing for small businesses, many of whom face significant barriers to growth and scale,” said GLAAACC Chairman Gene Hale. “Despite recent disruptions, my outlook on small businesses remains positive.”

He continued, “A recent federal report found that even though the number of firms they own has grown by 35 percent, the average gross receipts for those firms dropped by 16 percent.

“Forty percent of all small businesses failed during the pandemic, and banks would only lend to well-established existing clients, leaving many unable to qualify for PPP funds due to a lack of generational wealth to bridge the gap.

“Since George Floyd’s death, many companies have either downsized or eliminated their DEI offices.”

Thirteen Lune is a beauty, retail platform that is truly inclusive and carries products made by Black and Brown businesses.

“We adopt what we call our own 90/10 rule which is 90% of all the brands that we carry, beauty and wellness brands that we carry, are created by Black and Brown founders from around the globe, who create beauty products for everyone and 10% are dedicated to fostering allyship,” said Thirteen Lune co-owner, Nyakio Grieco.

Thirteen Lune was founded in December of 2020 and has performed well in spite of the pandemic.

“We have grown exponentially over the course of the last three years,” said Grieco. “In our first year of business, we did a million in revenue, in our second year of business, we did $15 million in revenue and in our third year of business, we did $25 million in revenue and expect to go up about 15% this year.”

Thirteen Lume is looking to make more hires as well as expand their business and brands. Grieco stated she personally feels optimistic in going forward as Black, female entrepreneurs are a growing segment in the United States.

“Institutional funding in 2021, there was a lot of excitement around investing in Black and Brown founders,” said Grieco. “What I find, being in the beauty industry, in the toughest of economical times, beauty does continue to grow and thrive.”

Grieco continued, “I have a lot of respect for the team at Bank of America and I’m excited about all that they are doing to support small businesses within the community of Los Angeles as well as beyond.”

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. As small, medium and BIPOC business move forward, Bank of America is ready to help them along the way.

“Bank of America has served Los Angeles for over 120 years and we’re very proud about that,” said Givens-Jones.

She continued, “Something we are working with businesses more and more is helping them understand the importance of technology in terms of cost savings, collecting payments faster and seeing their cashflow in real time.

“We like to meet business owners where they’re at and understand that Black business owners in particular want to do business with individuals that look like them and they can relate to.

“I am proud that Bank of America has a tremendous roster of senior Black leaders, who are passionate about serving the community to help them succeed.”

For more information on the 2024 Bank of America Business Owner Report, please visit