INTERVIEW: Tim Campbell

Tim Campbell

Talking to Tim Campbell

Tim Campbell has come a long way since winning The Apprentice television programme, his has gone on to set up his own company and is now sharing his experiences with business audiences who want to learn the secrets of his success, Yana Johnson (MBE) for itzcaribbean caught up with him to find out what he has been up to.

Music inspires the man, what is your favourite music? I lean towards music with meaningful words and soul music. When I was younger I would make mixed tapes for wife, I generally like all kinds of music especially old soul music. My first dance at my wedding was George Howard shower you with love.

How did winning esteem your life, were you always searching for more? Before and after the apprentice, my life was already changed and I was on a path that has allowed me to do more. A lot has happened in my life enabling me to do lots of different things. This brings growth and is a catalyst to grasp how the world works and it gave me a platform to want to do good things with young people.

How do you think your success has created a positive role model for others? I don’t really like the term ‘Role model’, because some role models are constantly in the limelight, but there is real work to be done. I hope my efforts demonstrate that anyone can achieve. My life style is nice, but with a level playing field anyone can achieve success based on their determination & hard work & faith. I hope that my success demonstrates that it is possible.

When I was on the apprentice, I used to listen to ‘Optimistic’ by Sounds of Blackness, which inspired me hugely, but as the songs say’s be optimistic. Proof that anyone can achieve

What is your life changing moment? My life changing moment turns into three things;

1. Going to University, gaining independence and having to stand on my own two feet. It gave me an appreciation of what my mum had done for me. If it wasn’t for my mum I could not have been there. She was strong and disciplined with my upbringing this has got me to where I am today.

2. Becoming a father. It was the inner switch that went on inside me. From that moment, I knew that I would be a great dad to replace my own negative experiences. I wanted to make a big impact on my daughter’s life and give her knowledge of what a potential husband should have in terms of qualities. I began to understand in raising the bar of what I did.

3. Setting up Bright Ideas Trust. I had a dream which told me what I needed to be doing. When that happens, you can’t ignore it without your conscience playing back on you. I listened to my conscience.

Apart from Sir Alan, who are your mentors? My mum is a big massive role model, but I learned by observation and acknowledging her determination and the power of a strong work ethic, consistently. My RE teacher, Mr Folio, not only for teaching me about the gospel but that it’s ok to question things even my faith because that is where the answers lie. I also learned that I had the power over my own direction. Watching Trevor Mc Donald, daily was also a great inspiration because everyone knew him and loved him. I like his consistency, integrity and dignity.

What thing/ belief/idea/theory have you adapted through life to now as a legacy? I’ve always believed that it’s ok to dream but that every dream has a responsibility to be followed through. The power of reading is an essential legacy. I would loose myself in books and visualisation it was ok to dream backed up by the fact that something needs to be done to make the dream come true. I must do what makes me happy, there is always choice even if you don’t like the outcome.

Is the recession a welcome break or a burn? Has it challenged you more or become a relief to alter the way you work? Life this century has been continually easy but recession brought a reality check. Credit used to be looked down upon. I purchased the new monopoly game last week with my daughter and I was amazed to see anew version with a credit card. The economic crisis is a wake up call to capitalism and how it used to work. Profits alone can no longer drive things but now enterprise and social enterprise is the way forward that has come out of this current situation. The need is great. There is a lot of negative impact on the financial sector and people from different communities.

The Bright Ideas Trust is a good vehicle to take people forward to employment and training, talent and a business development. The cash converter principle spoken about at the ‘Winners’ event at the British Library in 2007 demonstrates that from the passion of people and their skills they can start business from their creative skills and talents as a way forward for financial independence. It’s an element of correction to the current financial situation. The Bright ideas trust, is a combination of the two optimistics that behaviour will change, in a probable painful processes and the right necessary education will be delivered. In learning, we should then not repeat our mistakes.

What do you think is the way forward for some of the issues that we are facing with today’s youth culture? The way forward is respecting that young people are bombarded with materialism everywhere and their experience of the world is seen through those goggles, things have changed, yet we haven’t seen an education system that has changed to meet the desires of this society, that brings it up to date with current social issues and incorporating enterprise, life skills, sexual awareness etc

Can the Bright Ideas Trust create a new wave of independent entrepreneurs? We already have 3 individuals since November 08 when we launched with Boris Johnson in Hackney, 3 new companies who are out there working, Hairdressers in Islington, a Cleaning Company in Maida Vale and a Film Production Company in South London.

We are always looking for partners to grow the pattern and increase the opportunities.

How do you think that they can get funding to start up now? If the potential business idea is good and the applicant aged 16-30 then funding is available. The applicant must send in an application form to us and if it is commercially viable then we will fund Up to £25k. Visit Or download an application form from

How did the inauguration of Barak Obama inspire you? It was phenomenal I wrote an article for The Guardian. It was much bigger than a race thing and incredibly inspirational and a great representation of a success story within the black community.

Obama works hard but the biggest thing about what he did was that he got rid of a lot of misconceptions of what was possible to a lot of people who felt that black people cannot achieve levels of success. He said we know the system is hard and the journey may not be easy but you should be able to play the game.

He got rid of chips and he is like the man who achieved running 1 mile in 1 minute. It’s a mental shift, which crosses gender, religion and race.

A magnificent Barak moment was at the ceremony just before he was inaugurated. He was just sitting still, looking down and Michelle touched him on his shoulder. It demonstrated a unified family and spoke of his leadership and respect in the home and to the nation.

I have always known what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be in terms of my relationship, I understand that social standing can be challenge, especially if we are surrounded by a few others who make up a smaller minority of achievers. However we need to be comfortable unions of black people from all walks of life. We need to get back to seeing other as role models and as an inspiration. A happy environment is priority for our success.

Along with Lewis Hamilton, Barak Obama, you are a positive representation of a black man, how can this be multiplied, especially here in the UK? I’m fortunate to be part of the Reach government programme with 20 role models and their stories of successful people which need to be known, brothers, uncles, etc in public and private sector, there are 100 out there doing positive things for the community. We need more stories to support that belief, not many people know that these icons exist. There needs to be a mental shift and acceptance in the News and media in a positive way that will bring about more awareness of who people are and their contributions to society.

Tim Campbell website