VISION: Businessman Julian Hall is aiming to make entrepreneurship part of the school curriculum
LONDON ENTREPRENEUR Julian Hall has achieved many of the goals he set for himself when he first started out in business.
Hall set up his first makeshift clothing factory in a one-bedroom flat in Harlesden, northwest London, 30 years ago.
A few decades on from the start of his hip-hop clothing company Hall then founded one of the first black-owned digital marketing agencies in Europe, while also writing a best-selling book called From Entrepreneur to Ultrapreneur.
But now the 42-year-old father-of-five has set his sights on another challenge: to make entrepreneurship part of the school curriculum.
Hall is teaching his concept of ultrapreneurship through a special programme he has developed called Ultra Education.
The programme is currently being delivered to ten primary and secondary schools across London.
The idea behind it is to encourage and develop pupils who show an aptitude for running a business and teach them some of the skills involved in being an entrepreneur.
According to Hall response to the course since its launch in 2014 has been enthusiastic. Teachers involved in the programme have observed that pupils who were previously disruptive are now more settled since taking part in Ultra Education classes.
Relating a recent experience Hall told The Voice: “A ten-year-old by the name of Nicolas was asked how he wanted to earn a living when he left school and said he wanted to ‘watch movies.’
“I was able to explain that movie critics get paid for watching films and demonstrated this by explaining that those who have a high number of viewers on You Tube generate revenue for themselves. The discussion raised his expectations for the future.”
Recipients of the Ultra Education syllabus learn a variety of topics including how to find out the viability of a business idea, understanding profit and loss and how to build a team.
But, says Hall, it is the philosophy of Ultrapreneurship that will make a lasting impact on students.
“Pupils can quickly forget what they are taught,” he says, “but if they are educated over an extended period it can have a deep impact, especially when positive examples of young people are used. It helps to raise the level of expectation for teenagers in the future.”
During the course of the Ultra Education programme, budding entrepreneurs are not just taught about making money but are encouraged to consider things such as physical and nutritional health, mental well-being and positive relationships as part of what it means to achieve and sustain long-term business success.
“Ultra Education encourages the notion that it’s more productive to pursue a career that one will enjoy” says Hall. “Most people work for money, but with a growing variety of business models available career choice is not as restricted as it once was. If youngsters can acquire understanding in basic business concepts this can act as a map which will boost their confidence to choose careers and business options which can enjoyed.”
The entrepreneur recalls that when he was 18, a friend of his who graduated from the London College of Fashion helped him understand how he could build a successful clothing line based on the American fashions of the 1980s, including ripped t-shirts, stone-washed jeans and dungarees.
He says: “I sold this clothing line for a year at markets and clubs and it proved successful, because it kept me away from a life of crime. I realised I didn’t have to sell drugs to earn money, but had the ability to generate money legally.”
Hall admits that having a supportive family can play a significant role in inspiring young black people to start their own businesses.
He points to his father who owned a garage and his mother who would frequently ask him as a six-year-old to assist her in making bows for gifts to supplement her income. American musicians who ventured into mainstream business like Dr Dre and P Diddy have also inspired him.
“In hindsight it’s clear that small things like helping my mother have led to bigger achievements. Later on in life I noticed I was good at pricing and realised it stemmed from calculating how much I would be paid for making bows for gifts.”
When approached by Enterprise UK in 2006 to relate his experiences as an entrepreneur at conferences, schools and colleges Hall was at the height of his success.
His digital marketing agency in Shoreditch had two offices and was generating revenue well into six figures every year.
Reminiscing on changing his business path into digital marketing Hall said: “When I was approached to do public speaking I realised there wasn’t enough successful black businessmen as role models and gladly accepted the offer and haven’t looked back. I want ultrapreneurship to be taught in as many schools as possible in the UK and hope it will contribute to growing numbers entering the business world in the future.”