Abid Abedi, founder and CEO of iCode, sits down with Franchise Chatter for an exclusive Q&A about the one-of-a-kind concept and its holistic approach to computer science education.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Welcome, Abid. Can you please share a bit of background on iCode?
Abid Abedi (AA): Thank you so much for having me, and of course. I’m going to open this up with a pretty jarring report. Did you know that 65% of the jobs in 2030 have not been invented yet? When introducing someone to iCode that may be an eye opener. I find that sharing this helps paint a picture of where our workforce is headed relative to the state of our education system – and to be blunt, it’s not looking good.
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I started iCode with a vision to bring much needed quality computer science and technology education to children, essentially better preparing them for a successful future. As it stands today, the public school system is not evolving quick enough to keep up with current technology advancements – but we are.
At iCode, we’re so much more than a coding school. iCode is a K-12 computer science and technology education franchise unlike any other. We have an entire team dedicated to regularly updating our organically developed, comprehensive curriculum. Children can either advance through the school’s Belt or Paths systems, learning every cutting-edge subject available while staying with the same core group of students, or they can enroll in camps and specific subjects.
We provide these programs in a school setting, complete with classrooms, collaboration rooms, labs and more. The hardware and technology offered at our schools is unmatched.
Underscoring all the incredible offerings and hardware is our holistic approach to education. Our business model revolves around a commitment to developing the whole child. We provide a collaborative environment which allows them to develop essential soft skills such as strategic thinking and teamwork, and commit complex concepts to memory through hands-on learning.
As our world continues to advance and create new jobs, our services have become less of a want and more of a need – we’re preparing children and young adults for the jobs of tomorrow and they’re having a blast while doing it.
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FC: How is iCode different from other concepts currently available to families?
AA: Many other concepts focus solely on coding. At iCode, we understand changes in the job market, advancements in engineering, science and more. Our wide variety of computer science programs reflect this, and help children explore a variety of subjects. Moreover, with a proprietary curriculum, and a department whose sole purpose is to maintain and advance it, we can consistently bring relevance to the curriculum.
Our large classrooms are equipped with everything from Legos to gaming consoles to drones that iCode students have access to. In addition, our teaching methodology, which is different to our competitors, allows each child to develop holistically, developing the critical soft skills that employers are increasingly looking for.
Every child is different, they have different needs and unique interests, so we’ve developed iCode to cater to those unique interests. Our programs are all encompassing and scheduling is flexible, creating a custom experience that works well for each student.
FC: iCode is growing quickly. What current trends today are creating this rising demand for iCode?
AA: Yes, we have over 30 domestic schools open, with international franchises also operating in India and Mauritius. To date, we’ve signed over 20 agreements this year, and are on pace to have over 200 schools open in the next two years. We also continue to break into new markets with recent signings to bring new schools to New York, Washington and Utah.
We have definitely witnessed an uptick in demand for iCode. More than ever, we’re finding that parents are looking for quality enrichment programs for their children, while some are also trying to help bridge the education gap due to virtual learning during the pandemic.
While we’re certainly looking to cast a wide net and make our services available to families all across the country, we’re specifically targeting Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Seattle and numerous Florida markets for immediate development.
FC: Tell me about your franchise network and what your ideal franchisee may look like. Do many of them have teaching or computer science experience? What is it like being an iCode franchisee?
AA: While some of our franchisees have backgrounds in computer science or technology, there are plenty that don’t, and it’s not a requirement whatsoever. Our team has constructed a business model that’s easy to follow alongside ample support, making industry experience a plus, but not necessary. We’re looking for individuals that are passionate about providing our students with an unforgettable experience, where they are able to make friends, strengthen social cues and learn vital skills that will help launch them forward in life.
The support from our headquarters starts from the moment the pen leaves the paper, when a franchisee signs an agreement. We help our franchisees with every aspect of the business, from real estate selection, hiring, management and more. Our franchisee training program was built to support all the great programs iCode has to offer, and continued education is also always available.
FC: Where should readers go to find more information on iCode?
AA: We’re always looking for qualified individuals with a passion for changing lives to join our strong network of franchisees. For more information on our curriculum, franchising and more, please check us out at icodeschool.com