Founder & CEO Eric Roudi Started Company after Coming to U.S. from Iran
Phoenix, AZ (June 29, 2015) – OpenWorks, one of America’s leading integrated facility services franchises, celebrates June’s Immigrant Heritage Month and the success of foreign-born business owners. OpenWorks is the perfect example of a company that has thrived through the hard work and vision of immigrant entrepreneurs throughout the system.
OpenWorks Founder and CEO Eric Roudi came to the United States from Iran in the late 1970’s. Roudi, like many other Iranians at the time, came to America for a college education and planned to return home to be close to his family. However, soon after he enrolled at Tufts University in Massachusetts, Iran was consumed by a revolution and his family was forced to flee the country.
As a college student, Roudi found himself alone in a foreign country with limited finances and no access to his family. He became determined to thrive as an entrepreneur in the United States as his father had back in Iran. He and a friend entered the commercial cleaning industry and started OpenWorks in Phoenix in 1983. Today, OpenWorks has grown to 330 franchise locations in five states, and service more than 1,100 facilities each day.
Roudi said the experience in starting his own business is one of many examples of immigrant entrepreneurs becoming successful in today’s market.
“The observance of Immigrant Heritage Month in June means a lot to me personally,” said Roudi. “I often reflect on both the many challenges and opportunities I faced in coming to America and starting my own business. I am proud of my accomplishments and the many others who have come to this country and worked so hard to become successful business owners.”
Research conducted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has shown that immigrants started new companies or became self-employed at nearly twice the rate of native-born Americans, creating an average of 520 businesses a month per 100,000 people last year. Despite making up 12.9% of the United States population, immigrant entrepreneurs launched 28.5% of the new businesses in 2014 – up from 25.9% a year earlier and 13.3% in 1996.
Additional research from International Franchise Association highlights the continued growth of the overall franchise business model:
- Franchise businesses will add 247,000 new direct jobs in 2015, a 2.9 percent increase to 8.8 million direct jobs over last year.
- The number of franchise establishments will grow this year by 12,111, or 1.6 percent, to 781,794.
- Economic output from franchise businesses is estimated to increase by 5.4 percent over last year to $889 billion.
- The gross domestic product of the franchise sector is projected to rise by 5.1 percent this year, which is faster than the 4.9 percent GDP increase forecasted for the economy as a whole. The franchise sector will contribute about 3 percent of the U.S. GDP in 2015.
Immigrant Heritage Month was established in 2014 to celebrate the success of immigrants from around the world in the United States and encourage people to share stories of being welcomed to the American experience. For more information on Immigrant Heritage Month, please visit http://welcome.us/.
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