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Not Just Business as Usual

EIU grad finding success with company focused on more than just turning a profit

For Evan Kubicek, a business education at Eastern Illinois University doesn’t just represent a means by which he earns a living; it has also served as a tool to change the world in a positive way.

Kubicek is a vice president for CloudFactory, a rapidly growing distributed workforce company based in Katmandu, Nepal. The company hires its workers locally and connects them to other businesses, typically completing technology-related data-entry tasks from their homes via a custom Web interface.

“Our niche and what we do is take projects that can’t be done profitably in a developed country because of the pay rate people expect,” said Kubicek.

Where CloudFactory becomes unique, however, is its belief that “the outsourcing model is inefficient and broken” and the lengths to which it goes to rectify that problem. Rather than just mining cheap labor in developing countries, its goal is to put its workers on course to eventually achieve much bigger and better things.

“We want (our workers) to do more than just jobs,” said Kubicek, who earned a bachelor’s degree in management at EIU in 2004 before earning an MBA the following year and even taught business classes at his alma mater for a time.

“They’re not just data entry people who clock in and clock out; every week they have a meeting and complete character and professional development exercises. They have mandatory community service goals for their teams to hit.

“We want to empower them, equip them and train them to be leaders who address the problems (in their country).  We want our workers to be part of solutions; we want the people we work with to leave CloudFactory and take up positions in media, arts, government, and business -- be the future leaders who address those problems.”

Nepal is certainly a country with its fair share of problems; Kubicek cites estimates of as many as 10,000 people leaving the country each day in an effort to escape an environment of 40 percent (or higher) unemployment rates. Many never return alive. Having lived in Nepal himself with his wife and children, Kubicek also relates first-hand experiences revolving around the social unrest caused by unstable government and lack of reliable utilities.

Kubicek says Nepal is also filled with people of distinguished educational backgrounds who are struggling to find good jobs or any jobs at all; CloudFactory can pay them a more than competitive salary that is still quite cheap in relative terms, all while providing a means for them to grow as people and as professionals to eventually take advantage of their education.

“We want to see that changed all across the world, not just Nepal,” added Kupicek, who says the company is looking to open operations in other developing nations; he lists Kenya, Ghana, Morocco and Palestine as suitors to house the company’s growing operations.

“We employ about 1200 part-time workers­ right now, but expect to grow to 8000 by the end of this year. I have about 90 full-time staff in the office right now; about 30 of those report directly to me. We’re looking at growing to over 12-15 countries in the next six years and employing a million people.”

Kubicek got his professional start while he was still an undergrad, managing Jackson Avenue Coffee when it opened in 2002. Besides teaching at EIU, previous jobs saw him do consulting work for coffee houses and restauarants, which evolved to agriculture-related work and then home-reconstruction consulting in Haiti and Africa. He also did some mission/social work in Hawaii.

Needless to say, Kubicek is quite the world traveler despite always maintaining a permanent Illinois residence in nearby Kansas.

“We wanted to have a place we can come home to,” explained Kubicek.

Helping create a million jobs in some of the world’s most poverty-stricken corners is certainly ambitious, and definitely above and beyond what Kubicek expected when he graduated from Eastern.

“It has been an amazing journey of trying to figure out what I’m really good at and what I love doing,” said Kubicek.

“I’m not really an entrepreneur; that’s not my gift and that’s not what I’m good at, but I am really passionate about helping entrepreneurs to be successful. That’s kind of how I stumbled onto what I’m doing now.”

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