Fullerö Bilvårdscenter (car care center) is much more than just a workshop. As the name suggests, they can assist with not only repairs and service, car care is also on their menu. Moreover, it is part of a budding business empire where a family has joined together and started no less than four companies at once. As if that wasn’t enough, it may also be a way into Swedish society for new arrivals.
Raham Sedaghat was only eight years old when he came to Uppsala from Iran with his mom, dad and brother Sam. Dad was an architect and self-employed entrepreneur and maybe that’s where Raham’s business interest was born. As he first became a flight engineer and then a train mechanic and eventually a logistics manager, the conversations in the family began to start business together. The result of the discussions is the Shoma Investment Group. In addition to Raham and his wife, his mother and brother are also part of the group. Besides the car workshop, they also run a consulting firm, a cleaning company, a financial company and a restaurant. After completing a project manager training and business development studies, Raham’s role within the group is to be the company developer and sounding board.
“We have a good business manager in each and every business venture, otherwise things would not work. At Fullerö Car Care Center we have a good workshop manager with a background as a program engineer, he has very good leadership skills but not so much experience in running a car workshop. We check up every day, so I can support him with my experience. “
Fullerö car care center is located just north of Uppsala. The premises are large, fresh and fairly newly built. Everything is neatly organized and in meticulous order, a legacy from Raham’s time in the aviation world, where ‘every screw is registered’. On top of the workshop is one of Sweden’s most successful car dealers, Nyare Bil. The location of the business is by no means a coincidence. Shomagruppen has seen the development opportunities in the area.
“We have plans that span one, three and ten years ahead,” says Raham. “We opened in July but have already reached our goal of establishing a partnership with Nyare Bil. There isn’t another workshop for 14 km, if they recondition a car there it will be dirty again once it’s back for sale. It suits both us and them to have each other 20 meters away. ”
Nearby a new residential area is being built, where within ten years around 10,000 people will move in. In addition, a number of companies will establish themselves in the coming years which Raham hopes to sign service agreements with. The plans are ambitious and clear – Fullerö Bilvårdscenter wants a private and a company flow. To achieve this they will also need a sheet metal workshop and be able to take care of coat and plastic details. And that’s why they’ve joined Autoexperten.
“With our cooperation, we will be able to give our customers complete service. Within Autoexperten we have a supply of all the acquired skills, equipment and routine. We have hopped aboard an already highly functioning train. ”
Do you have other reasons for joining Autoexperten?
“There is no rival that can match the availability, backing and support Autoexperten gives us. When you establish yourself within a whole new industry it’s important to have the support of a group that has already done this multiple times. ”
Raham recalls the exact moment when he knew that Autoexperten was the right partner. “The first question I received was ‘what do you need?’. Other sellers gave me a brochure and told me what they were selling and what they needed. Everything was on their terms. Autoexperten tailored a solution specifically for us. They have helped us enormously in our establishment because the time schedule has been so tight. ”
In April, Shoma got access to their premises. It was originally built to be a truck wash and it took three months to renovate and prepare for opening. “We could’ve bought everything we needed for a car workshop in one go, but that would have required huge capital. With Autoexperten’s routine we could put up a plan for in what order we needed equipment and could build things up more smoothly.”
Raham and his family are engaged in charity projects and for instance support a school in Iran that gives street children the opportunity to get an education. And in many of their companies they employ new arrivals and people with immigrant backgrounds, who traditionally have a harder time getting employment.
“Jobs are the best way to get into society. Letting people feel that they earn and spend their own money. In a working environment, language is learned much faster than at school. You learn social codes in a completely different way. This is something we are dedicated to. When you have your own company, you have to be involved and shape a society that you believe in. We earn our keep by delivering a product to society and feel we need to give something back. But it is important to keep a balance, to find people with experience and language skills for the company and to combine with those who need to be channeled in to our society. Some of them stay just a few months before they find a better job. You get a sense of fulfillment knowing you have helped a person get into the labor market. I believe in karma.”