New York, (July 18, 2023). Read the original article at LISC Stories.
What makes a successful entrepreneur? For Ibrahim Jackson, founder and CEO of the New York-based business Ubiquitous Preferred Services, there are several ingredients to success, but one stands out.
“You have to have a passion for what you do,” says Jackson, whose business helps companies increase employee retention through upskilling and retooling, and fostering a culture of belonging. “You have to wake up and go to sleep believing that what you are doing is your true North Star.”
It took some experimentation before Jackson found his calling in life. He began his professional journey as an accountant but quickly realized that this work didn’t align with his expressive, outgoing personality.
“I can't sit there and crunch numbers all day. It just didn't fit my style,” Jackson says.
He moved into an IT role with a major cosmetics company, where he created an Employee Resource Group to give Black employees a safe space where they can bring their whole selves to the table and get support in personal and career development. In the process, he found the inspiration for his next career move.
“I always said that I would take what we were doing there and expand those capabilities into other enterprises,” says Jackson. “The dream is coming to fruition through Ubiquitous.”
He started Ubiquitous as a side hustle in 2007 with two clients. As his customer base grew, Jackson eventually made the business his full-time job. While Ubiquitous serves all industries, the majority of clients are in healthcare/life sciences, financial services, and consumer packaged goods.
Ubiquitous provides coaching and training on four core attributes – digital savvy, business acumen, interpersonal skills, and social impact – that Jackson believes are relevant to every industry, every company, and every employee.
“At the end of the day, we're talking about people and that's why I say we're a people development firm,” he says. “You can sit in accounting, you can sit in sales, you can sit in supply chain, and all of these core attributes are relevant.”
With the events of 2020 leading more employers to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, Jackson saw an opportunity to grow Ubiquitous, but he needed access to capital, which has long been a challenge for Black entrepreneurs. That’s where the Abbott-LISC Initiative to Support Diverse Businesses in Health came into play, providing a $240,000 capital injection last year to support content creation for an e-learning platform, Skill Increase, that Ubiquitous uses to help employees quickly acquire new competencies that can be put to use right away. The platform allows companies with large employee populations who work in areas without dedicated computers (e.g., distribution centers, manufacturing plants, businesses with field agents) to democratize access to e-learning for all levels of employees throughout the corporation.
“The capital that Abbott and LISC provided has been monumental in helping us grow,” says Jackson. “Basically, what we've done in an instructor-led, in-person session, we've been able to digitize and bring onto Skill Increase, our e-learning platform.”
Growth capital is not the only assistance that Jackson got from LISC and Abbott. He also benefited from a consultant who helped him build out a growth strategy for government contract opportunities, which he will implement when federal DEI spending opens up later in the year.
What does all of this support mean for Jackson’s bottom line? He already saw business revenue triple from 2021 to 2022. Over the next three to five years, Jackson projects that Ubiquitous will hit the $25 million annual revenue mark and expand its customer base to 50 companies within the Fortune 1000.
And what does he say to an uncertain economic environment, which could dampen his growth plans?
“I am imaginatively optimistic,” says Jackson. “I believe in the silver lining everywhere.”
Learn more about the Abbott - LISC Supplier Diversity Program here.