Only 1 N.J. company makes list of fastest-growing urban businesses across U.S.

By Jessica Mazzola | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 27, 2014

A former Olympian's company was the only one in N.J. to make this year's Fortune Magazine "Inner City 100."

 

NEWARK — Only one New Jersey company made this year’s Fortune Magazine Inner City 100, which lists the fastest-growing companies located in inner cities throughout the United States.

Sabre88, a consulting and IT company serving mostly government clients, was founded in Newark in 2008. During its first six years in business, it's gone from a one-man operation, to a 37-employee company with an overall growth of 364 percent.

“The growth rate is basically talking about revenue,” Sabre88’s founder and CEO Bob Thomas Cottingham, Jr. said.

“This recognition legitimizes what we’ve been working toward. It means that we are on the right path, and we want to continue to grow.”

The annual Inner City 100 is compiled for the magazine by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a nonprofit founded by a Harvard Business School professor that researches and strategizes about inner city economies.

Sabre88, which reported $1,562,515 in revenue in 2013, ranked Number 32 on the Forbes list.

Cottingham named the company after a fencing sabre. The Columbia University alum was a member of the 1988 and 1992 U.S. Olympic fencing teams. After his fencing career, he went into intergovernmental relations, working for Congressman Donald M. Payne and Phacil, Inc.

According to ICIC, the 16th annual list is meant to highlight the business opportunities in inner cities available to budding entrepreneurs.

“These [ranked] businesses, led by some of today’s most creative entrepreneurs, prove that not only can companies thrive in inner cities, but that inner city companies can enjoy unique competitive advantages,” ICIC explains on its website.

“The program has led to innovative investment programs, helped blaze a path for other inner city entrepreneurs, and provided enormous stimulus for change in local communities.”

Cottingham said he hopes his company’s recognition will inspire start-up businesses throughout the Garden State to consider opening in Newark and other N.J. cities. Sabre88 was the only New Jersey company to make this year’s list.

“I was kind of surprised to see that,” Cottingham said.

“I am a Jersey guy. I was born and raised in Orange, so it was just natural for me to start my business here. It’s kind of a best kept secret kind of thing. I’m hoping that this [recognition] can help folks see that things like this can be done right here in Newark.”

Cottingham said he sees many perks to working in an area that ICIC dubs an inner city. His employees utilize mass transit to get around, he has internship programs set up with area colleges, and the company launched with the help of NJIT’s Economic Development Center.

“It’s been great for us,” he said. “We don’t have to give business away to New York City or Silicon Valley. We have to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship here.”

Fruition Partners, a professional services company in Chicago, topped the Fortune list. See the full list here.

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