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How Female Business Owners Succeed in STEAM with IDEA Lab Kids

For International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, IDEA Lab Kids is highlighting some of its successful female franchisees and discussing how they're helping to introduce young girls to the world of STEAM.

More and more, the engineering industry is looking for ways to empower young women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), and IDEA Lab Kids is the perfect place to encourage students to develop knowledge and interest in the growing field. 

The hands-on, after-school learning brand with more than 25 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, was founded as a space where children could explore their interests in STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — all at once and in one place, providing a fun environment for kids and an easy solution for busy parents looking for educational enrichment opportunities for their children.

Today, IDEA Lab Kids offers an exciting franchise opportunity for female entrepreneurs looking to help kids explore engineering and other STEAM disciplines through engaging classes, camps and workshops. IDEA Lab Kids has positioned itself as a leading supplemental education business opportunity thanks to a cutting-edge curriculum, proven business model and strong franchisee support infrastructure.

Cristina Francis, an IDEA Lab Kids franchisee in Toronto, was introduced to STEAM after researching enrichment programs for her son. “The more I researched STEAM in Canada, the more I thought it would be something that my son would enjoy,” she said. “But I couldn’t find an enrichment program that was STEAM-focused — I wanted something that was fun and offered an all-encompassing enriched curriculum.” 

Francis decided to take matters into her own hands and began researching STEAM-based franchise opportunities. When she discovered IDEA Lab Kids, she reached out to developers and learned more about the program.

“It was clear that our area didn’t have any enrichment academies that came close to offering the experience that IDEA Lab Kids offers to children,” said Francis. “The Toronto area features a lot of families with children in private schools, and I knew it would be a great market for IDEA Lab Kids.”

Almost immediately after signing on with the brand, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but Francis didn’t let that deter her. She started offering classes virtually and brought in 32 registrations during her center’s first week of virtual summer camp. Francis immediately saw how impactful IDEA Lab Kids could be for families and children, with parents sending pictures of the kids having fun with the curriculum at home. Now, Francis is in the process of building a physical IDEA Lab Kids in a commercial space. 

“Kids today are learning at the speed of light, and everything is related to tech,” said Francis. “STEAM really caters to that changing environment and provides a hands-on and engaging experience that encourages them to learn. Our curriculum is so unique compared to the things they’re exposed to in school, whether it be classes covering medical science, robotics, coding, augmented reality or even entrepreneurship.”  

Francis says she is particularly proud to support young girls in STEAM because historically their male counterparts were the ones encouraged to pursue engineering and tech. “Girls are still really underrepresented in these industries,” she said. “There are certain education subjects that women traditionally didn’t have access to, and we are excited to influence young women and underrepresented cultures in STEAM. These girls love things like coding, and I am proud to help make these learning environments more available.” 

Isabel Hejazi is another female IDEA Lab Kids franchisee and mother who discovered the franchise opportunity while looking for quality education programs for her children.

“I’ve worked in the education industry for 15 years and have a Ph.D. in educational psychology with a focus on helping struggling students,” said Hejazi. “Education is a high priority in our house, and as a parent of two young children, I was searching for different ways to introduce them to out-of-the-box learning programs and STEAM classes. As we did more research, we discovered the IDEA Lab Kids brand and loved what we saw.” 

Now, as both the director and owner of an IDEA Lab Kids location in Houston, Hejazi says one of the aspects of the business she is most passionate about is the ability to be a role model for young girls.

“I introduce myself as Dr. Isabel in class — it is very important for girls to see a woman in these kinds of roles and understand that women can be scientists, as well as men,” she said. “My role models growing up were homemakers and full-time moms, and I am proud to be able to balance being a full-time mom and an educator. I want girls to know that there are plenty of options out there.”

Hejazi says IDEA Lab Kids allows her to instill this message and support the future careers of young women by teaching concepts that can be translated to activities outside of the classroom and applied to all areas of life. “I’m always looking for activities beyond the classroom, and there aren't a lot of places where you can do these kinds of programs,” she said. “I’m very proud to be able to support young girls in achieving their dreams.” 

Devina Bhojwani, IDEA Lab Kids’ co-owner and president, says her team is always looking for ways to innovate and educate young minds through STEAM-based education, and she’s thrilled about the increasing opportunities to encourage young girls to take interest in programs that will set them up for success in the future. 

“I am extremely proud of all of our franchisees in the system introducing young girls to STEAM and showing them that they can achieve anything they put their mind to,” said Bhojwani. “As a women executive in the STEAM space, I am honored to be able to lead by example and am looking forward to continuing to inspire the future generation of women as the IDEA Lab Kids brand grows.”

The startup costs for an IDEA Lab Kids franchise range from $98,100 to $271,000. The franchise fee is $35,500. To learn more about franchising with IDEA Lab Kids, visit