Marcus Blair is a young man on the move. Cruising along at a job he loved, his company was downsized by the COVID-19 pandemic. He was given notice of a layoff June 1 and his last day was June 14.
Marcus did the unexpected. He started a new business.
He says, “Hey, I could be sitting here mailing out resumes or I can take my future into my own hands.”
I liked him instantly.
Poribar Consulting and Investments was born. Blair teamed with his friend Mohammed Salehin, an accountant and naturalized citizen from Bangladesh. Poribar means family in Salehin’s native land. He’s a military veteran, having served two tours in the middle east.
Blair lacks the exotic background. He grew up in Loudon County and has lived in Blount County since 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tusculum College and studied electrical engineering at ITT Technical Institute.
“We offer cloud-based applications for small to medium-sized businesses,” he said, explaining that few businesses with 100 or fewer employees have an IT department.
“Many businesses are keeping their books on Excel. And that’s fine, until you want to share the information.” For example, if two employees open the file and make changes, there’s a good chance that only one person’s changes will save.
Also, the program will not sort your information if it is not entered exactly alike. “You can’t say Maryville, Tennessee – Maryville TN – Maryville, Tenn. – and expect it to sort together.”
And there are also security concerns. “You’re serving up personal information on a silver platter for any hacker.
“There is prepackaged software that will do this, but it is very costly. We offer a much simpler, targeted solution.” Blair estimated set-up at less than $5,000 with a $30 per month maintenance fee. “We read about digital transformation, but it’s usually big companies talking to each other. How does that help Sally’s Beauty Salon?”
Blair, who was one of Knoxville’s 40 Under 40 at age 38, has big ideas. One is to create a job board on the company website. If someone has a repetitive task, for instance, someone else can write a macro and post it. It can be downloaded free by anyone.
He practices what he preaches. Poribar is decentralized, designed to compete nationally. The company is incorporated in the state of Virginia. Three developers are based in Greenville, S.C.
“We don’t just talk about video transformation. We do everything online.”
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