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Burj Khalifa resident dares to turn scrap into ‘gold’

Enterpreneur-cum-motivational speaker hits the streets with Dh1,000 in bid to make it big

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The alchemist?: Arif Mirza says he will collect scrap with the aim of turning it into ‘black gold’

Dubai: A Burj Khalifa resident is out to show the world what it takes to make it big in the UAE. And no, he’s not doing it from the comfort of the ivory tower.

Instead, Pakistan-born Canad-ian Arif Mirza on Wednesday checked into a shared accommodation in Al Qusais and hit the streets to collect scrap with the aim of turning it into ‘black gold’.

Doing the rounds of the Al Ghusais scrap market, the 37-year-old told XPRESS this was the prelude to a month-long venture called ‘Streets of Gold’.

“This is just a teaser. The real thing will come about in a day or two once I get the copyright on my idea,” he said. “Streets of Gold will eventually be made into a documentary which will record my experiences.”

An entrepreneur and motivational speaker who has been in Dubai for three years, Mirza said he aims to generate hope among people when their chips are down.

“If you’re in the UAE and you get stuck, you only have a month’s time. You have no money, food or place to live and no one to turn to. You go into hiding and are desperate to return home.

“But I want to show how you can start all over again – from nothing – and become stable in a month’s time,” he said.

Mirza’s self-inflicted challenge entails working around a limited budget of Dh1,000. “That’s the kind of dismal situation many people find themselves in.”

So armed with a grand idea and a thousand chips, Mirza is raring to go. “On some days, a scrap collector may earn nothing. On others, he may make several thousands. I will not only be going around physically to pick up pieces from here and there, but also be making online requests through Facebook.

“I will be collecting old ACs, computers, furniture, metal, pretty much everything. And I will show how this scrap can generate wealth. I will show how there’s more money in Old Dubai than New Dubai.”

Without revealing too much, he said scrap collection is only one of the many components of his project. As the days wear by, he said he will also be undertaking jobs like car wash, car rentals and real estate to help make a turnaround.

“It doesn’t matter where you start from, it’s where you end up that counts. It’s all about having the right state of mind and talking to the right people.”

He said he will also be launching an online platform to enable people to make direct contact with various stakeholders. Distinct from the theory of the six degrees of separation, which says everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away by way of introduction, the forum will seek to establish direct connections between people.


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This would an intresting story to follow. XPRESS should give us regular updates and play a referee to this feat. I wish Arif Mirza all the best.

Charles Roberts

28 March 2013 14:04jump to comments