Felicia Jackson, founder and inventor of CPRWrap, had a somewhat unconventional journey to entrepreneurship. It all began with a terrible scare.
She and her family were driving in the car when she noticed that her son, a toddler at the time, was having trouble breathing in the backseat. He was choking. She and her husband immediately pulled over to help the child.
Jackson had spent 20 years in the medical field. For many of those years, she served as a physical therapist assistant. Her job required her to learn CPR annually, so naturally, her husband put their son in her arms. Jackson froze, panicked. Her husband ended up being the one to administer CPR and saved their child.
Jackson was devastated. Even with all her training, she hadn’t been able to help her son when he needed it most. Instead of wallowing, though, she took action. If a medical professional like her could freeze in a moment of crisis, surely other people, especially non-medical professionals, might react in a similar way. “From there, I actually had a purpose,” she said. “I knew I had to do something to help other parents.”
CPRWrap empowers people to save lives
Thus the CPRWrap was born. The CPRWrap is a tool intended to help people, especially laypeople, administer life-saving CPR to victims. Jackson is the inventor of the product and serves as CEO of CPR Wrap, Inc. The product, composed of medical-grade plastic, helps lead the user through the CPR process. First, users insert the product’s mouthpiece into the choking person’s mouth. A graphic on the product shows the user where exactly they should place their hands to do compressions. CPRWraps come in three different sizes: adult, child and infant.
Since Jackson works in the medical field, she had access to many professionals who helped her develop CPRWraps. Her goal was to create a product “so simple even a nine-year-old child could use it.”
Starting the project in 2017, Jackson used a shower curtain to construct an early prototype. Eventually, she got a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office and found a manufacturer. Next, she had to secure working capital, an arduous process.
“Being a female minority founder, we don’t get very much investment from various groups, even angel investors,” Jackson said. “We’re always having to prove ourselves time and time again.”
Felicia Jackson is a woman on a mission
Jackson has spent the last four years developing the CPRWrap into the best product it can be. She has participated in five accelerator and incubator programs, all of which were critical in her business’s evolution. “As a first-time founder, you’re not going to know everything,” Jackson said. “I didn’t have any business acumen, didn’t have a business degree, never owned my own business. So I needed that help … From those [programs] we got the validation of our business model, we got connections into their networks, connections into much-needed capital that many founders need.”
Jackson believes that the communities these incubator and accelerator programs provided have been central to her success as a founder. “You can’t do this alone,” she said adamantly, “you cannot.”
As CPRWrap continues to evolve, Jackson’s goal is to supply this product to as many people as possible. “This is a product that should be in every home, business, office, car, yacht – I don’t care,” she said. “Eighty percent of [these] incidents that happen away from the hospital happen in a home, happen around family. And there’s no feeling like it. I don’t want people to experience that. I want them to be ready.”
In this video, Jackson tells her story, in heart-wrenching detail, and talks about how she managed to secure capital, how to prevent knockoffs and why this product is so important.