Reading, writing and ‘rithmetic may be the basics of education, but like learning their multiplications tables or how to conjugate verbs in French, entrepreneurship for kids may be taught early on. This is what spurred on Julian Hall to found Ultra Education, which coaches children between the ages of 7 and 18 on business skills and how to be your own boss. Here’s his start-up story.
What does your business do?
Ultra Education teaches kids between the ages of 7 to 18 about entrepreneurship and business skills in primary and secondary schools, as well as in weekend and holiday clubs. We help kids to turn what they are passionate about into a business and organise Europe’s largest kid’s business fair, which is held twice a year.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I have always been very involved in business and entrepreneurship learning in education. I have been speaking at schools, colleges and universities about business and my experience for over 15 years and it has always been something that I have been passionate about. The idea of Ultra Education stemmed from this. When I spoke to students on a one-to-one basis, I would often find that they had great business ideas and an innate understanding of business, but they often wouldn’t know how to get started. I developed the concept of Ultra Education as a platform that would help young people to develop businesses and the necessary skills.
How did you know there was a market for it?
Contemporarily, entrepreneurial skills are more vital than ever. The dynamics of the workplace and working life are shifting rapidly in a way that make the skills learnt through entrepreneurship essential. Whether an individual decides to be a fully-fledged entrepreneur or not, statistics show more people have side enterprises, work freelance and generally work in more demanding competitive job roles. Our clubs help young people to develop work-based skills.
Describe your business model in brief.
There are several facets to our business model. The service side of our business provides workshops and business clubs in various settings as described. We are also franchising the business, with the first franchisees launching in London and we are growing rapidly. Very shortly we will be developing a product offering of online materials also.
What was your first big milestone and when did you cross it?
Our first big milestone was teaching 5,000 students, which we reached last year after around 18 months of launching the business. We are aiming to teach 1 million students in the UK by 2020!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Enjoy what you do and don’t be afraid to fail.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I would like Ultra Education to be an established and well recognised brand globally. My goal is to be the number one provider of entrepreneurial education in the world and to have taught entrepreneurship to millions of students globally. It would be great to have helped start successful business careers for several young entrepreneurs and it is also our goal to have entrepreneurship included in the curriculum for kids all over the country.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be…
Well, many wouldn’t know this about me, but I was actually quite the science geek! I studied Biology at university, so perhaps I would be a scientist. I guess we’ll never know…
What is your philosophy on business or life, in a nutshell?
My philosophy in business and in life is to be excellent, and I think this comes hand-in-hand with doing things that you love and are passionate about. I say this because when you truly are passionate about something, you are able to throw your all into it to learn more and hone your skills on the way to becoming excellent. I believe that too often people chase money in a bid to be seen as ‘successful’ and it can often keep running! When you first seek to enjoy what you do and become the best you can be, financial reward is more likely to follow – as people have no choice but to pay for your skills and see the value in it.