Why the launch of the Bright Ideas Trust has cemented Tim Campbell as an entrepreneur to watch

Sara Rizk on why the former Amstrad employee has well and truly moved out of Sir Alan’s shadow

Here at Startups we’ve been lucky enough to see Tim Campbell’s Bright Ideas Trust go from a proposed initiative to a fully-fledged venture. While the former Amstrad employee may be best known in wider circles as the first winner of The Apprentice, I’d like to propose that last week’s BIT launch marked a turning point for Tim – a conclusive move away from the reality TV star label, cementing his position as a successful, and rather inspirational, social entrepreneur.

Not convinced? I’ll let Tim do the talking:

“What we want to do with the BIT is show people how they can turn their passions, regardless of where they’re from, into real life opportunities, and I believe business is the platform to do that on.

“With business, it’s not about your race, your colour, your creed or the labels people put upon you. If the numbers work, the numbers work. Business is a fantastic and powerful engine for change. It allows people to be passionate about wealth creation. And we’ve got no problem with profit – profit is good – it’s what you do with it that makes the difference.”

For those of you not familiar with the Bright Ideas Trust, it provides mentors, expert advice and up to £25,000 seed capital for young entrepreneurs in the London area (Tim intends to eventually roll it out nationally) who have a commercially viable business idea. The Trust works with a number of corporate sponsors who provide business experts as well as the much needed cash to fund the initiative.

Although it’s technically a registered charity, Tim is keen to point out he’s not in the business of handing out grants or donations. He makes the valid point that investments, rather than grants, give entrepreneurs more sense of value on their idea. Someone that embodies that notion perfectly is Fabien Soazandry, one of the first beneficiaries of the Trust.

“It doesn’t feel like a scheme,” Fabien, who recently started a film production company, said at the launch. “It feels like a proper business venture and Tim Campbell is my business partner.”

If Fabien’s example is anything to go by, the Trust will soon be introducing us to a vibrant new generation of entrepreneurs – the ones, as Tim put it, who’ll see the opportunities in this downturn and come up with the ideas to drag us out of it.

Boris Johnson, whose presence at the launch I’ve so far overlooked, hit the nail on the head too:

“There is no gold in the hills of Notting Hill or under London,” he declared. “All we have are the ideas, ambition and energy of those who can create wealth and employment for themselves and others, and to do that you need at least three things – the idea, the determination to keep going, and the support.”

Tim Campbell and co are providing number three on the list, but if you’ve got one and two you now know where to go.



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