By Donogh Moore
Although Raj Lyons-Chohan was born in London, he moved back to Ballinasloe aged 5 alongside his mother Anne-Marie and younger sister Zoe. His mum, coming from Quansboro, Killimor, brought Raj and his sister up in Hymany Park. He attended primary school in Creagh, under the guidance of the principal Tony Broderick, and from there furthered his education in Garbally College. Once he left school, Raj got involved in the automotive industry and after spending over 15 years working in both the British and Irish market, he now specializes in Electric vehicles.
From a very early age he was exposed to the world of entrepreneurship, thanks in no small part to his grandfather, Michael Lyons, running a highly successful trophy shop - Lyons Trophies. It was from him where Raj learned the most important fundamental aspect of any business, "The Customer Experience", and this is the foundation on which Raj plans to build all his future businesses. When an advertisement for ‘Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur’ caught his eye, Raj decided to submit an idea that he had been thinking about, under the ‘Best Business Idea’ category. Raj himself said: “This has honestly been one of the best decisions I have ever made. The support I have received from the Local Enterprise Office in Galway has been excellent. It truly was a great honour to be shortlisted from hundreds of applications to compete for the title of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2019.”
These awards offer huge incentives for budding entrepreneurs. With an IBYE investment fund of €50,000 each, every local enterprise office will award up to six investments to three category winners and three runners-up at county level. The business idea, titled ‘EV ENERGY – Your Electric Car Partner’ has high ambitions. It hopes to be the Booking.com and AirBnB equivalent to the electric car charging network. EV Energy hopes to give drivers the ultimate charging experiences, all the while promoting businesses, towns, cities and tourism pathways that have electric car charging stations and services.
Having Ballinasloe as the base of the business is the plan for the foreseeable future. Citing several reasons for this, Raj said “I would strongly recommend the area for other businesses - not only to set up base in the town but also to existing business that are expanding; look into Ballinasloe. The town is ideally located beside the motorway plus the local train station has a very strong link with regular journeys to various stations around the country coming through every day. With a good population in the area, recruitment and more importantly staff retention can be achieved with relative ease.” Finally, Raj has some words of advice for anyone young or old, that has a business idea. “Don't keep them in your head. Don’t be afraid to speak to people about your idea, 1% is the idea, and 99% of your success comes from the execution. Get in contact with the local support groups, as you would be amazed by what help is out there.”
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