June 25, 2008 by Barney Brack
Tim Campbell, series one winner, worked for Amstrad’s health and beauty division for two years before he stepped down to set up the Bright Ideas Trust, an initiative to give young entrepreneurs a chance to set up a business with equity funding and advice.
After recording for the series ended in November 2004, Campbell was catapulted into a world very different from his previous job at London Underground.
However, unlike the others in the show who were, understandably, attempting to make the most of their fifteen minutes of fame. Campbell was put straight to work on a new project for Sugar.
“There were no parties or film premiers for me,” says Campbell. “I was kept away from all of that and had to get on with business.”
Prior to working for Amstrad, Campbell worked on the Tube, where he fought his way into a management position. However, he has found that the publicly run transport service is a world away from a global electronics company.
Viewers of the show will remember Tim as being a good-natured and non-aggressive contestant. It raised the question whether he was hard-nosed enough to succeed in business – particularly at Amstrad. But Campbell doesn’t agree with this portrayal and suggests that he was a victim of the cutting room. “I am tougher than that, I am a very resilient person,” he says.
“What I have learned about business is that it is another language. It is not this hard intimidating place where only certain people can succeed. Business is about making money – the bottom line.”
And despite witnessing a dozen fellow contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ being ‘fired’ Campbell is not a concerned that he will be hit by the same fate.
“I have fear of failure, of personal failure, but being fired is not big thing for me,” he asserts. “It may sound big headed but I’m confident that I can adapt myself to any environment.
“I navigated my way through the London Underground and I was one of the youngest people ever to become a manager there. But I have a set of transferable skills that can be adapted to any environment.
“If I make a mistake I will hold my hands up and accept responsibility. But I don’t see me getting fired in the foreseeable future.”
Backed by his experiences to date, Campbell has encouraging words for entrepreneurs about what is needed to get ahead in the world of business.
“I believe that anybody can be in business,” he says. “Some people think qualifications get you ahead or think you have to talk in a certain – way but those are just barriers. You just need the will to succeed.”