When Yemi Lemma came to America from Ethiopia as a junior in high school, she was excited for the opportunity to further her own education. Now, Lemma is taking that passion for learning a step further by owning her own Best in Class Education Center in Spring, Texas.
Lemma received a Bachelors in Science from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, later earning her MBA from the University of Texas in Dallas. After working in research and development, Lemma then went on to work for a fortune 500 company as a global marketing product manager. But it wasn’t until she had children of her own that she decided to follow her dream of starting a career in the education industry.
“I’ve always had an interest in opening my own business,” Lemma said. “So, when I had kids of my own and wanted to spend more and more time with them, I started researching franchising options. I was also very attracted to the idea of investing in my kids’ education, so during my research, Best in Class’ mission, unique curriculum, and corporate support team made sense for me.”
Lemma is one of twenty-five female operators in the Best in Class franchise system. In fact, seventy-eight percent of the system’s operators are women, and the system boasts diversity across the board by also having a strong base of immigrant franchisees. Stephanie Zhu, Vice President of Business Development & Finance, said this diversity has happened organically.
“We don’t really focus on targeting specific franchisees to get a diverse group, it just kind of happened,” Zhu said. “At the franchisee level, at the corporate office, and pretty much system wide, we have a really diverse group here. Many of our franchisees have even come from backgrounds that are not necessarily education related, like Yemi. While we look for franchisees who are passionate about learning, it’s also important to have people from different experiences and backgrounds so we can continue collaborating and learning from each other.”
Zhu said the diversity in the Best in Class franchise system enriches the experience overall. But despite diversity being something the company is proud of, it’s not the main reason Lemma signed on. She said it was an attractive quality, but making a living out of education was her main drive to franchise with Best in Class. Since opening her doors for business in Spring, Texas in September 2016, Lemma has had the opportunity to not only see her own children grow and learn, but she’s also been able to fulfill her passion for learning and tutoring other kids in the area.
“Getting a text from a mom that reads ‘thank you, thank you, thank you,’ or any other type of personal message has been so rewarding to me,” she said.
Based in Seattle, Best in Class ensures that it can give that “Gift of a Lifetime” through superior supplemental education, guaranteeing students’ individual success. Best in Class’ unique approach begins with CEO Hao Lam’s passion for teaching and his steadfast commitment to programs of the highest quality that produce results.
With centers currently open in California, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington, Best in Class is confident that they will continue to evolve into a leading nationwide brand. Initial start-up costs range from $56,700 to $96,800 including the $30,000 franchise fee, and discounts are available for franchisees with education degrees as well as those who commit to opening multiple units.
“There’s a real need for our one-of-a-kind education services in Texas and across the country, and we’re very proud to have franchisees like Lemma to help us grow,” said Hao Lam, Founder and CEO of Best in Class Education Center. “By continuing to partner with entrepreneurs across the country, we will continue making a positive impact in the entire education industry, one student at a time.”