As I enter my 40th year, I get reflective, writes Tim Campbell, founder of Bright Ideas Trust and winner of The Apprentice.
I think back to an apparently simpler time when I had this crazy idea to help more people start their own businesses. Ten years ago I founded Bright Ideas Trust, a charity established to support the next generation of small business owners. I started it because I was frustrated with the lack of opportunity for people under 30 to get access to significant start-up investment capital and advice from successful business owners, as well as ad hoc guidance from expert business advisors.
A decade later, the environment for aspiring small business owners from underserved backgrounds, and the wider start-up market, are much more positive. We now have open access to information online and from institutions such as Mintel and the British Library’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre. We also have access to start-up and growth funding, democratised by peer-to-peer platforms and social networks such as Funding Circle.
Having helped start more than 250 businesses ranging from hairdressers to cleaning firms, we have seen what works and what doesn’t. Every business we have supported has been founded by someone who ‘knows their onions’. It is not enough to have the desire to be a florist if you don’t know your chrysanthemums from your carnations. Doing what they know and love makes the start-up process easier.