We’ve all heard stories of immigrants coming to the US with very little money, but through hard work and determination, creating their ‘American Dream.’ Well, the story of Abid Abedi, iCode CEO and Founder, is one such story. He came to the US at the age of 17 with only $100 in his pocket!
After completing his Bachelor’s and Master’s in accounting and having worked for corporate America for 6 years, Abid felt a calling towards full-time entrepreneurship and franchising opportunities. Over the last 40 years, he has started over 15 companies in various industries and in various countries. His franchising companies have generated over $3 billion in sales over the years. More importantly over these years, he has raised three beautiful daughters. People are a product of their experiences, and Abid is no exception. Each and every aspect of iCode franchising incorporates the knowledge Abid gained in his professional life as well as the “university of life.” From the physical design of the iCode franchise, to the curriculum and the culture, he has implemented the best franchising practices he learned through his experiences.
One lesson Abid learned early in his entrepreneurial career is the value of building a strong foundation. He recalls the words of Jerry White, an advisor in one of his companies. “Abid, you can build a multi-story building on a one-story foundation, however, when the wind blows, yours will be the first building that will topple.” iCode franchising is no different. For the first few years, from 2015 until the end of 2017, Abid focused on building the culture and long-term vision for the company, before considering franchising the concept. From there, iCode took off and today we have sold over 70 franchises and have iCode campuses in 26 different states throughout the US.
iCode was born in September 2015 with a simple idea; to teach children how to code. But in his experience raising three daughters, he dreaded dragging them to after-school programs that they didn’t enjoy. He learned that designing an exciting and welcoming place for children to learn is important. Abid wanted the iCode franchise to be a place where children would want to spend time.
Another experience that Abid can vividly recall is hiring thousands of technical workers over the years and their lack of effective communication and interpersonal skills like collaboration and presentation skills. These skills are absolutely critical to professional success. Therefore, Abid wanted iCode not only to focus on teaching children how to code, but on how to help them develop these soft skills.
Abid also learned from successful companies that products and services should be provided in a way the consumer wants to consume and customer feedback should be solicited and acted upon. A successful organization is a listening organization in tune with its customers and stakeholders. By following these simple lessons, iCode franchising added additional programs and camps in the areas that our customers wanted more content as well as adding virtual options for those who can’t make it to an iCode campus. And we’re not done yet. We have an exciting vision that will bring iCode franchising into new markets and create new revenue streams to our franchisees.
Finally, Abid learned through his time in corporate America the impact of workplace culture on employees. He was appalled with a culture where adults are not treated like adults and micromanaged by their supervisors. Ego, politics, and silos run deep, and people are discouraged from taking initiatives and penalized for making mistakes. Because of this, Abid has created a culture at iCode where every individual is a contributor, there are no silos, people are encouraged to take initiative, mistakes are not penalized but learned from, and everyone is treated equally. This has resulted in a high level of employee satisfaction which contributes to their dedication to the iCode franchising mission.
iCode is a culmination of 40+ years of Abid’s personal and professional experience. He believes you can learn a lot from just watching successful and unsuccessful companies and people and he’s applied every single lesson into this business. Take a deeper dive with iCode franchising to learn more about Abid’s vision for the future of the company.