Rollin Mukanza launched a carpet cleaning business without knowing how to clean carpets — only the desire to prosper.
The Ellet man fled the Congo more than a decade ago to settle in Akron. With a degree in business, he told a friend, who knew how to remove stains, to demonstrate their service by cleaning a patch of carpet not in the corner of a video store, as others had, but out in the open.
“So [the owner] was compelled to call us to clean the rest of the store because our spot was cleaner,” said Mukanza, who beat out a competitor. His business, Cleancare Professionals, went on to service every Blockbuster store in the Akron area.
Mukanza is one of 568 immigrant entrepreneurs in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District. As a group, they are 32.6 percent more likely to start a business than American-born residents, according to research released Tuesday by New American Economy.
“I love the story of the startup companies,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat who represents Akron, Youngstown, Kent and Warren in the U.S. House. “The moment presented itself and you took advantage of it. That’s the immigrant spirit.”
Read the full story from Akron Beacon Journal: “Lawmakers look to North Hill for answers on immigration debate“