Florida International University (FIU) graduate Andres Franco (BBA ’08) touts the importance of having great vision. As founder and owner of Premium Vision International (PVI), the leading distributor of glasses and optical accessories in Colombia, South America, Franco is involved in an industry-wide campaign to make eyewear affordable for consumers in developing countries.
“The major cause of eye cancer, cataracts and other eye diseases is exposure to the sun,” Franco said. “Our objective at PVI is to make sure that people have access to quality products that offer them protection.”
Franco suggests the biggest opportunities in the industry lie in Latin America and Eastern Europe, both regions that have been under served and have markets that are expanding quickly. His own company, launched just last year and currently operating in two Colombian cities, has plans to go nationwide by 2011 with products in more than 2,000 pharmacies.
College nurtured business owner’s entrepreneurial spirit.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Franco said, “but at the same time, I was hesitant because of the risk involved, knowing that if I failed I’d have to start all over again.”
At FIU he received ongoing encouragement to stay true to his aspirations of one day starting his own company. According to him, he met and received advice from successful entrepreneurs who lectured in his classes. He learned from his professors about commodities markets in Latin America. An entrepreneurial project taught him how to be productive with minimal resources.
Collectively, says Franco, these and other experiences in the College of Business Administration not only gave him the confidence necessary to pursue his career goals, but also imbued him with knowledge and insights that increased his potential for success.
“I received valuable lessons while I was at FIU,” Franco said. “They’ve helped me capitalize on opportunities in a dynamic and growing global industry.”