From Law to wallpaper and a farm in India

From Law to wallpaper and a farm in India

After enjoying work as a London lawyer, Murtaza Jivanjee (OE 1997 – 2004) has made a dramatic career switch – and now trades wallpaper and paints in the Gulf, India and Africa!

Murtaza, who is currently based in Dubai, decided to seize an international business opportunity. He has no regrets: “The world of business keeps you absolutely on your toes and gives you a wonderful insight into cultural differences all over the globe.”

After leaving QE, Murtaza took a Foundation in Natural Sciences at Kings College London, followed by a degree in Law (LLB) from City University London. He then qualified as a lawyer, taking his Legal Practice Course through Gray’s Inn.

He worked in the City for Hughes Fowler Carruthers in ancillary relief in divorce proceedings – “a great experience” – and for Harrow-based Walter Wilson Richmond Solicitors.

“I then found an opportunity to do business in the Middle East, Africa and India, so I thought ‘what the heck…’” he says. “I now trade wallpaper manufactured in Europe and America as well as decorative paints from Italy. I distribute throughout the Gulf and India, and am now in the process of growing in Africa. Thus far we trade in Nigeria, Chad, Somalia and Ethiopia, with a view to increasing our ties throughout. In due course, we also hope to set up a base in Kampala, Uganda.

“It’s a very different environment from where I grew up in north London, but I’m thoroughly enjoying life, especially with my eight-month-old old son, Saif,” adds Murtaza, who is married to Fatema.

“In recent months I have been busy on projects in Africa, Canada and India, seldom with regular internet connection and with very limited opportunity to sit at my desk. But it has all been an amazing eye-opener to explore opportunities the world over.

“I will be launching contract fabric-backed wall-coverings for the commercial and hospitality market. We are also in the process of establishing a farm in a rural part of Gujarat, India, where 30 per cent of all produce will be given to the local towns to help provide at least one meal a day at no cost. The remainder will hopefully be used in a commercial way – I have a sweet tooth, and so maybe a small ice cream plant in the area to make use of the exotic fruits we’ll grow.

“It is all a world away from Law, but a tremendous experience.”