One is a judge on the most popular business reality show on TV. The other announced this week that his company has been sold for a small fortune.
This uniquely qualifies entrepreneurs Tim Campbell and Dean Forbes to appear in The Apprentice – You’re Fired later today.
Tim was the inaugural winner of parent series The Apprentice in 2005. Dean is CEO of the software company Forterro. The two are longtime friends from humble beginnings who have been on journeys familiar to millions of young entrepreneurs hoping to find their way into the game.
“If you didn’t have very much, there’s less to risk,” Campbell said, “for me, when I got to the top, I had nothing to lose. So if I walked into a room and everyone else there had a big cheese, my view would be, ‘If they kick me out and kick me out.’
“But I’ve always been able to be myself and that’s what got me to where I am now.”
East Londoner Tim, 44, is currently sitting alongside Alan Sugar and Baroness (Karren) Brady on BBC1 every Thursday night in the hunt for the latest £250,000 winner for a new venture.
When he triumphed 17 years ago, he landed a £100,000-a-year job at Lord Sugar’s company Amstrad.
Tim left the company two years later to start the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps young people start their own businesses.
There he met Forbes, and both overcame initial fears that two talented young black men would be swallowed up by the corporate machinery.
“First of all, you’re just grateful to be in these spaces because you didn’t even know they existed before,” added Tim.
“Then when you’re in there, you’re like, ‘Well, I’m actually fine! That imposter syndrome thing, I don’t have to worry about that!
“‘I don’t do anything weird or unusual, I don’t lose myself or sell myself. I just work really hard.’
“My path was working for the public sector. After that I went into television and then started my own foundation to help young people start their own businesses.
“Then I joined some organizations to advise their boards. Now I am part of a trading company focused on building a new business in Africa.
“I remember Dean once saying to me, ‘There’s no limit to what I can achieve. Why should I slow down now?’ And it’s true.”
Dean is just as motivated, having transformed the fortunes of a number of enterprise software companies over the course of his 20-year career.
He was included in a list last year of Britain’s most influential black people across a range of sectors, including business, politics, technology and academia, along with Marcus Rashford, Sir Lenny Henry and Dame Sharon White.
The Forterro company, which he sold this week, is a European provider of software for nearly 8,000 medium-sized manufacturing and manufacturing companies.
It was snapped up by Partners Group on Tuesday. Dean said in a statement this week: “The final piece of the puzzle was partnering with an investor who would share that vision with us. Forterro has been on an incredible journey.”
Dean’s foundation, the Forbes Family Group, provides investment and development support to young people and entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds.
“God has put me in an amazing position,” he said. “A position to do as much good as possible to as many other people as possible – and that is a blessing. I accepted it. It is exhausting. It’s exhausting, frustrating at times, but compared to the rest of the world, I’m doing better than almost anyone.
“What I find most challenging as a leader — whether it’s in the home, as a parent, at work, or in the community — is educating people to turn to you for solutions and answers.
“For example, there are almost 2,000 people in my company and if it goes really bad, it ends up on my desk.
“When things are really bad at home, everyone calls me!
“So that’s what I find the hardest thing – trying to be the person that everyone expects because I don’t want to disappoint them. When you come in at 10pm you’re just thinking, “I just want to watch Succession so it numbs my brain!”
The biggest challenge for Tim and Dean is work-life balance. Father of three Dean, married to wife Danielle, said: “I’m incredibly disciplined.
“I love my job and I love my family. Being so driven allows me to get carried away and end up just trying to conquer the world from one website.
“So I have to be disciplined and set times when I’m going to be a father and a husband. No CEO or chairman or anything else.
“Because my family makes sacrifices too. My wife had to deal with three children under 15 months at the same time.
“It had long periods of time when I was traveling and on the road for work. She had to deal with my mood swings when we lost a deal or the teams are performing.
“So the least I can do, if I can, is be totally present and totally engaged.”
Campbell agrees, “If you find that thing professionally, that’s your passion and it’s pretty easy to get lost in it. But I’m very fortunate that Jasmine, who I’ve been with for 24 years now, understands that if I didn’t have that passion and purpose, I wouldn’t be the man she fell in love with and would have stayed with .
“But as Dean says, I need the discipline to afford the time to protect what’s most precious to me – my family.
“Just so I don’t miss those positive moments of the school play, the gold medal for my son, or the football game where they got hit and need a hug afterwards.
“It’s hard sometimes. When you travel, you travel a lot. You have reports, you have investors. It’s very easy to think, “You can wait, I can come back to this next week”.
“But sometimes you have to push the button and be disciplined. That leads to people knowing they can trust you.”
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Both men point to last year’s European Championship final to make it clear that, as high-profile black figures, they will be judged harshly if they fail to deliver.
Three of England’s black footballers – Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka – have been racially abused on social media and mocked at stadiums across the country after missing penalties in the Wembley defeat by Italy.
“When we watched the black footballers miss the penalties, I don’t think there was a person of color who saw it and didn’t anticipate the consequences afterwards,” said Tim.
“Because sometimes we walk into rooms knowing we have to excel. This is our own benchmark.
“But it’s also the standard of people who might be watching us and asking us questions. I don’t take that responsibility, but I know it’s there.
“So to be really good, I make sure I exceed expectations. I don’t just want to meet her. I want to kick her out of the park so you can’t even ask the question.
“And that’s a good thing sometimes, but it can also be a lot of pressure because there’s a lot of stuff. I need it now because I’m getting buzz and driving. If it’s not difficult. I don’t really want to do it because you don’t really test me.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/apprentices-tim-campbell-determined-sacrifice-26377898 The Apprentice's Tim Campbell on his determined sacrifice for his family