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Syrian mechanic opens new auto shop in Atlanta

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The IRC in Atlanta’s Microenterprise Development program recently provided its first small business loan to Mohammad, originally from Syria, who is now the proud owner of The Best Works Auto Care Center in Roswell. Mohammad, his wife and their four young children were resettled by World Relief Atlanta in June 2016 after living as refugees in the United Arab Emirates for several years. While living in the UAE, he picked up snippets of several languages – from Urdu to Tagalog – due to the diversity of immigrants in the country. Having worked as both a mechanic and a police officer before the Syrian war forced him from his home, Mohammad was eager to rebuild his career as soon as his family settled into their new life in Atlanta.

Mohammad at work at The Best Works Auto Care Center in Roswell.

Mohammad at work at The Best Works Auto Care Center in Roswell.

Photo: IRC Atlanta

Over his first two years in America, Mohammad worked as a mechanic at various auto-repair shops, but when he received a promotional flyer for the IRC in Atlanta’s new Microenterprise Development program (MED) in early 2018, he decided to take the next steps in building a business of his own. The IRC’s MED program provides technical assistance, financial capability training and lending services – including business start-up loans and credit building loans – to support refugees who are interested in starting or expanding their own small business. Mohammad met with Tarangini Saxena, IRC Atlanta’s Microenterprise Development Coordinator, who appreciated his optimism and business savvy. “He had already gathered lots of information and was incredibly proactive setting up his LLC registration, business insurance and merchant processing services through his bank,” said Tarangini. Working together, Mohammad was able to establish a business cash flow and learned how to project his monthly revenue for a year based on his labor costs and average number of customers per month.

He recently received a loan of $10,000 dollars through the MED program to purchase auto-equipment to start his own business. Mohammad will continue to work with Tarangini to build his marketing strategy, using automated email tools and social media to promote his new shop. While a website is still in the works, The Best Works Auto Care Center in Roswell is now open and ready for business! You can find Mohammad and his auto shop at 111 Hill St # 3C, Roswell, GA 30075.

Celebrating the first small business loan of the MED program, Tarangini said: “Mohammad is a very optimistic, pro-active and humble entrepreneur! He is a great relationship builder, a skill that has significantly helped him navigate U.S. business regulations. Likewise, he attests that his success is not just reliant on his savvy but on his community of friends and acquaintances, as well as his faith in a higher power.”

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org () or 678-636-8941.

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