”After our practical training it became our own little garage”
The workshop is full of machines, tools, equipment, oils and tyres. The spare parts all over the place and the smell of oil are evidence of an old-established garage.
”It was our uncle who introduced us into the world of cars. We were fascinated”Muhammed Zaatar
The brothers feel at home here. From the age of about twelve they began to work in the family's car repair shop.
– It was our uncle who introduced us into the world of cars. We were fascinated, we really wanted to get into it. It was like having a passion for something. We've always liked the work, and things went well for us', says Muhammed Zaatar.
– When the war came, it crushed all our plans for the future.
It became impossible for them to work in Syria.
– You have to support either the government or the opposition, you can't be neutral and stay on in Syria.
They brought their dreams with them. While waiting for their residence permits they thought about starting their own business in Sweden.
”We didn't want to live on social handouts”The brothers Zaatar
Advice when you set up on your own
Amer and Muhammed Zaatar's advice:
* It's a good idea to start as an employee before you set up on your own. It's all about gaining experience and understanding the Swedish labour market.
* I know a lot of people who have come to Sweden and started their own business without having any experience. But they had to close down after a short time, says Amer.
* Think about why you want to start a business.
* Consider all the costs involved. ”We found this out at the beginning, there are hidden costs you must be aware of”.
* You must have customers. ”Our outgoing personalities and our friends helped us to get lots of customers. You must be friendly and sociable”, says Muhammed.
– We wanted to realise them in our new country. We didn't want to live on social handouts, we wanted to get ahead by our own efforts, the brothers say.
– During our practical training I learned that you need ability, attention to detail and a serious attitude to get a foot into the labour market. I worked hard to build up my customers' trust. I still do, says Amer.
– It isn't easy to find your place in the Swedish community, to learn the language and start your own business, says Muhammed.
Born: in 1993 in Aleppo.
Lives: in Kristianstad, came to Sweden in 2015.
Work: Amer Zaatar started Favoritbilar garage in Kristianstad as a one-person firm in 2017. In 2020 the firm became a limited company. He runs the firm along with his brother. Today the firm has two trainees.
Leisure interests: hotting up and restyling cars, being with his family and friends, learning Swedish.
”Unfortunately we were unable to get financial help from a bank, since we are new in Sweden”Muhammed Zaatar
They got help from Nyföretagarcentrum to set up on their own.
– They offered us free help there. We went there to find out about all the practical details, such as starting with a plan for the business, and then other questions such as how to open a bank account, says Muhammed.
Did you get any financial help?
– Unfortunately we were unable to get financial help from a bank, since we are new in Sweden. This is a problem for all newcomers who want to start their own business. Maybe you have a good idea and a profitable project, but no way of financing it. It's a big obstacle for us, says Muhammed.
”We want our language to be 100 per cent correct”Amer Zaatar
– We borrowed money from our friends and from people who thought we could make a go of it. We started as a one-person business and now we have a limited company, he says.
The firm, Favoritbilverkstad AB, offers all types of service.
The brothers have kept on studying Swedish.
Born : in 1991 in Aleppo.
Lives: in Kristianstad, came to Sweden in 2015.
Business: is a motor mechanic.
Work: motor mechanic, repairs different kinds of cars.
Leisure interests: Swimming, reading and learning Swedish.
Why are you studying more Swedish?
– We want our language to be 100 per cent correct. It increases our customers' confidence in us. And of course it helps us understand our customers better and become part of the Swedish community, Amer says.
When they came to Sweden in 2015 they were given trainee places in different garages.
– It was a good way of getting out on to the labour market. When we were trying to find a job we got in touch with a firm and asked if we could get some training with them. In fact we started here in 2018 as trainees.
– Here in this very garage. After our practical training it became our own little car repair shop.
”We are more flexible during the crisis”The brothers Zaatar
Do you have a lot of customers?
– Yes, both Swedish and incomers. We are particular about sticking to agreed times and we have the knowledge that is required. Satisfied customers are our best advertisement . They talk to one another about our work, and that gives us more customers, says Muhammed.
During the corona crisis there is a risk for their economy. But the brothers still believe the firm will survive.
– Of course, just like businesses all over the world we are feeling the effects of the corona crisis. But in spite of everything we're doing well. We have our customers, and we always try to maintain contact with them. If necessary we can drive out to where they live and pick up their car for repairs. We are more flexible during the crisis.