Overcoming Adversity: How to start a business from a prison cell with guest speaker Jacob Hill

Jacob is a young, proficient and eager entrepreneur with an impressive history of business success behind him. By the tender age of twenty-one, Jacob’s prolific portfolio of entrepreneurial antics had won him a string of impressive awards including; the Yorkshire Post’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the Duke of York’s Young Entrepreneur Award, the Lloyds TSB Best Start Up (Yorkshire and North East) award, the Kirklees Council Examiner Awards’ New Business of the Year and the University of Huddersfield Vice Councillors Student Entrepreneur Award and Students’ Union Awards Student Enterprise of the Year.

He first caught the business bug as a teenager; keen to find his flair in the field he started an underground sweet selling enterprise at his secondary school, which quickly picked up momentum and became a multifaceted operation with its own staff and an impressive turnover. After his school days, Jacob organised local music events, but when a new law shut his venture down, he worked to pay back his debts and looked ahead to where he could next find a worthwhile business concept.

It was whilst carrying out a full time degree course in Enterprise Development at the University of Huddersfield, which was granted the Times Higher Education’s ‘University of the Year’ title in 2013, that Jacob devised his most lucrative venture, The Lazy Camper, a trailblazing concept aimed at festival fans and comprising camping equipment and everything you might need to survive a festival. He entered his business in to a host of national competitions, securing investment from Richard Branson through his Virgin Media Pioneers medium. The innovative Lazy Camper concept was also pitched to Innocent smoothies mogul Richard Reed on BBC3’s Be Your Own Boss programme. Such was Jacob’s success, that he found the company sponsoring leading UK music and sporting festivals.

When he faced seismic setbacks, from business failures to a 24-month prison sentence after a slew of bad business and personal decisions and rash reactions, Jacob pledged to push through and re-build. He spent his time in incarceration proactively, helping others to understand that they could be afforded the same opportunities he’d had if they worked hard and believed in themselves. He worked closely with the St, Giles Trust, a charity supporting the resettlement of ex-offenders into society.

Despite all the unfortunate circumstances that he’s faced, Jacob’s most admirable trait is his determination to push through and stay inspired. He is proof that the archetypal businessman is an extinct concept, and success comes with passion, instinct and sincerity. Keen to continue repaying his debt to society following his release, Jacob has embarked on a new business venture, a recruitment agency for ex offenders, to help them into employment. He recently secured his first investment and launched officially online.

Jacob impressively engages audiences with his genuine enthusiasm and eagerness to pass on his knowledge and experience in the world of start-ups, entrepreneurship and motivation. He has given speeches to a vast spectrum of international audiences, from students, to professionals and associations. His message transcends business, giving an insight into personal growth, being authentic and finding success in doing what you love.

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