Every year in June, the world celebrates Immigrant Heritage Month. Not familiar with this particular month of celebration? Well it 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.
At OpenWorks, we love to celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. After all, our very own founder has a personal connection to the struggles immigrants can face. 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.
So as a college student, Roudi found himself alone in a foreign country with limited finances and no access to his family. But, he became determined to thrive as an entrepreneur in the United States as his father had back in Iran. That’s when 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.
“The observance of Immigrant Heritage Month in June means a lot to me personally,” said Eric 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 start new companies or become self-employed at nearly twice the rate of native-born Americans. Furthermore, 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.
In fact, immigrants are often attracted to franchise systems as business opportunities. That’s why OpenWorks is the perfect example of a company that has thrived through the hard work and success of immigrant entrepreneurs at multiple levels of the organization. We celebrate and encourage the success of immigrants as franchisees and employees throughout the year!