Spotlight on Abdisalan Sheikhbile

Abdisalan Sheikhbile

Pronouns: He/Him

Current Town: Burlington, VT

Years in VT: 10

Industry: Residential/Commercial Cleaning Services 

Business Name: Cleaners Unit

Business email and/or website:

Tell us a bit about your background.

 I arrived in Vermont June of 2012, but before that I lived in Lewiston, ME since 2007.  Before arriving in Maine I lived in Denver, CO as the first state I’ve lived in after migrating from my birth country Kenya. Both my parents are Somali and fled their country 1991 when the Somali Civil War started. This landed them in the neighboring country Kenya to find refuge and peace. I was born in Kenya 1998 and raised there until 2005 when my family was granted the opportunity to move to America.

What do you enjoy about being a business owner/professional of color in VT? 

 I  really enjoy how welcoming and diverse Vermont’s community of entrepreneurs are. This state is becoming a beautiful melting pot with the different cultures and ethnicities bringing a unique feel to entrepreneurship.  

What are some challenges that you’ve faced as a business owner/professional of color?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a business owner/professional of color in VT is finding networking events that are free to everyone. This would be a great opportunity for a lot of BIPOC business owners to enlighten each other with all the cool ventures we have in our state. This would also create referral opportunities and a tight knit community. 

How have you worked to overcome the challenges?

I’ve tried overcoming this challenge by visiting BNI meetings and free meet and greets in the area. I would love to know what other opportunities are in the area currently.

What opportunities do you see for your industry in the future? 

I  see endless opportunities for the cleaning industry in the future as it’s continuously growing. This will create job opportunities and healthy living standards for the average household in Vermont.

In what ways could the community or state of VT support BIPOC in your line of work? What advice would you have wanted to receive about being a VT professional/  entrepreneurs/business owner before arriving?

I wish I knew the size of Vermont as a state before I moved here in 2012. The size of a state plays a huge role when starting a business that requires marketing and advertising to reach a potential audience. 

What do you wish others knew about living in VT that you’ve discovered?

I discovered that living in Vermont, we are very open and accepting of all religions, cultures, and ethnicities. This creates a safe zone for individuals to express themselves freely which is very important.

Are there other things (events/opportunities/etc) you’d like to share with the VT BIPOC  community?  

As a local exceptional cleaning service we are always looking to hire and create opportunities for Vermonters as a whole.

Why are you a member of the Vermont Professionals of Color Network?

I am a member of Vermont Professionals of Color Network because I feel that it’s a must to take advantage and be a part of such a community that stands by Advancing the prosperity of all BIPOC in VT. 

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