Would You like a feature Interview?
All Interviews are 100% FREE of Charge
Featured on Forbes, Julian ‘The Ultrapreneur’ Hall is the founder of multi-award winning Ultra Education CIC, a social enterprise whose mission is to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle to increase the life chances of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Starting his first business at 18 yrs old, having a background in technology and investment banking he is the best selling author of three business books. Julian has co-written three University degrees in entrepreneurship and launched the UK’s first mobile game for kid entrepreneurship called Start-up Dash, AI chatbot, #AskUltra which teaches entrepreneurship autonomously and YoBuDi, the world’s first youth business marketplace. He has been the entrepreneur in residence at some of the UK’s top schools and is pioneering the integration of entrepreneurship into the curriculum. A freeman of the Company of Entrepreneurs, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, member of the Association of Business Mentors and Shakespeare Globe Council, co-founder of UkBlackTech, Julian has been honoured by the British Citizen Award with a medal for services to education and recognised by the Black Cultural Archives of one of the Chairs 40×40 Future Leaders.
Table of Contents
INTERVIEW WITH JULIAN HALL
Julian thank you for being a guest in our edition, which is themed around black entrepreneurship. We are delighted to have you and look forward to sharing your story.
You haven’t always been an entrepreneur…!
Can you tell us what life was like before you ventured into business?
I was born and grew up in North West London, Harlesden in Brent to be specific. As a black boy from that area of London, statistically, I was likely to ‘fail’ or not achieve in life. However, from an early age, I always had an interest and passion for having my own ventures/projects and trying to have ownership of something. As a teenager, I was heavily influenced by Hip-Hop culture and took a lot of my inspiration from this in terms of fashion, music, and lifestyle.
My first venture as a teen was actually an Urban fashion label I started with my friends. I had several ventures that I worked on during this time but eventually, I worked for a while in investment banking as that seemed like the thing to do – make money and provide. However, it never quite felt ‘right’ and I eventually took the leap into entrepreneurship, launching my first company, Pure Online Genius, which was a digital marketing agency.
What have been some of the toughest struggles you have faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
I think many of my struggles as an entrepreneur were similar to what a lot of people go through in the early stages of launching a business. Having a clear understanding of the scale to which Ultra could grow to and how to get there definitely took some time. Though I knew that teaching children entrepreneurship was needed, I had difficulty panning out the channels that would be most effective and beneficial to our business and activities. Merging the worlds of business/entrepreneurship and education can at times be a struggle, so having an understanding of
how these two sectors could best work together in a mutually beneficial and streamlined manner took some time.
My other main struggle has been ensuring that I had the right people around me to ensure that Ultra grew in the manner that it should. While my vision, determination, and passion are central to Ultra’s growth; finding the right team members and mentors with their own insights and expertise has dramatically helped to spurn our growth as a company. No man is an island!
Which 3 entrepreneurs or business professionals do you look up to in business and why?
Three entrepreneurs I look up to are Jay Z, 50 Cent, and Nas. As I mentioned, Hip Hop culture has always been a huge part of my life and I think it’s amazing to see what these guys have done from starting out as musicians to where they are today.
Though they are all very different in their personalities and approach to business and entrepreneurship, they all have in common that they have leveraged their talent to create strong brands and business empires while staying true to themselves. They’ve all disrupted spaces that were traditionally not open to people who looked like, talked like, or came from the backgrounds they are from and that resonates with me.
As entrepreneurs, they have all learned and developed their business acumen along their personal journeys and continue to do great things to inspire young people from similar backgrounds to their
own – showing what can be achieved with hard work, dedication, and striving to be the best.
What’s the best advice you can give to any entrepreneur or start-up business owner?
My number one piece of advice will always be to go back to your ‘why.’ At Ultra we fully advocate that all the children we work with, first pinpoint what they’re passionate about and we help them to start a business based on that.
As an entrepreneur, once you understand why you want to do what you’re doing and you’re really passionate about it, you’re on the right track and more likely to stick with what you’re working towards. The age-old adage says, ‘do what you love and it won’t feel like work’ and I strongly agree. When you do what you love, though you may have hard times and things may not go your way, it will be much easier to stay motivated, grounded and work towards your goals.
You’re the founder of many companies such as AskUltra, Ultra Education, and Ultra Gaming, all under the Ultra Academy Ltd umbrella.
What is the Ultra brand all about and what is the main objective?
Well, if you look at the meaning of the word ‘Ultra’ it means to ‘go beyond.’ When I started Ultra Education in 2015, I had years of experience working on various ventures and always worked closely with the education sector in various forms. I always enjoyed working with young people and seeing the spark and creativity that many of them have. I truly believe that entrepreneurialism as a concept can make the world a better place but as we all know, so many entrepreneurs and businesses fail.
In fact, the statistics say it is 9/10 of businesses fail in the first three years. The Ultra brand seeks to empower as many young people as possible with entrepreneurial education to equip them with the skills to start a business from what they love, understand entrepreneurship, embrace their passions, and impact their communities and the world for the better. Entrepreneurs who do what they love, solve problems and help to change our lives for the better.
“That’s what the Ultra brand is about! “
How important is it what you do for the world and how can you level up?
Great question! As I mentioned, I believe that entrepreneurship is one of the greatest tools we have at our disposal to benefit our society and the world at large. In recent times, society has created some quite damaging habits and expectations of how we should lead our lives.
The notion that money equals success and equates to happiness, as well as the idea that we should sacrifice our physical and mental well-being to achieve common ideals of success, has often had a negative effect. At Ultra, our ethos is to strip that right back to what may be considered a ‘child-like’ perception of what happiness or success is.
What truly makes YOU happy? What do YOU enjoy doing?
As children, most of us will have something or multiple things we enjoy doing, and no doubt this changes but for many, the process of education and going to work and thinking about providing often means we lose sight of these things. I believe that if more people were able to do what they love, the world would be full of much happier adults, leading better-quality lives and generally a more enjoyable experience for all across the board… and that’s how you level up!
What has been your most successful moment or memorable time to date?
I would say my most memorable moments were both launching Ultra Education in 2015 as well as holding our first-ever youth business fair. Both moments really hit home the scope, potential, and importance of our concept of youth entrepreneurship education.
Before I started Ultra, while I would regularly work with young people, this would be at secondary schools as part of their Business Study courses. While these students would have great ideas and projects to work on in our workshops, I often felt that had entrepreneurial concepts been introduced earlier, this would have made a noted difference.
I have been inspired by my daughter who has seen my work as an entrepreneur from a young age and as young as 5 or 6 showing an understanding of business and entrepreneurship that blew me away.
When we launched Ultra, we were able to demonstrate that yes, entrepreneurship can be understood and enjoyed by children and can help them to excel and be creative in many ways. Our youth business fair was ultimately a culmination of this, seeing 50-60 young people as young as 5 talking confidently about their businesses, creating their own products, and making sales was a proud moment and a great feeling.
Well Jules that concludes our interview. I want to thank you on behalf of GallantCEO for your time. I wish you the very best and buckets of Ultra success.