For Mohamed El-Rifai, a TV series became the inspiration to give up crime. Today he runs a successful business.

A random flip on his TV may have been the stroke of luck of a lifetime for Mohamed El-Rifai, a 38-year-old Danish man. Her finger stopped on the remote when Discovery Channel came on the screen. The channel was broadcasting the American television series ‘Dirty Jobs’, where host Mike Rowe was sanding dirty surfaces.

“It immediately captured my interest. I found it really cool how the sandblaster could clean surfaces and remove paint in such a simple and effective way. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction watching,” said said Mohamed El-Rifai to local channel TV2.

And quickly the dream of running a sandblasting company was born. A few years earlier, he had moved to Spain to escape the criminal environment that had been part of his childhood and young adult life. He had, among other things, committed burglaries, carried out violence and sold drugs for several years, and before he was 23 he had been imprisoned four times and had also been placed under house arrest with an electronic bracelet twice .

Saying goodbye to the criminal environment also meant giving up the possibility of “making quick money” by selling hashish. And so, it was a poor Mohamed El-Rifai who had returned from Spain after three years. Money just wasn’t coming as easily as it used to. “I didn’t have a penny in my pocket, so I had no way of buying a sandblaster,” he says. So he had to go to the employment center, and there he managed to get a ten-month temporary job in a construction company. There he learned, among other things, how to lay foundations. Skills that proved crucial to his future.

It was ultimately Mohamed El-Rifai’s mother who took out a loan from the bank to buy a sandblaster for her son, thus launching the entrepreneurial adventure. In less than six months, he was able to repay his sandblaster. The company was named MV Strip, and in four years it went from a turnover of 15,000 euros to 375,000 euros this year.

Over the years, his company MV Strip has diversified and no longer only offers sandblasting. Today, Mohamed can pour foundations and renovate facades. Skills that Mohamed El-Rifai himself uses to a large extent. Recently, he bought a villa which he plans to completely renovate so he can move in with his mother and her disabled dog.