Apprentice winner meets Sparkhouse stars


The first winner of the BBC’s The Apprentice, praised the work of Sparkhouse Studios during a business event at the University of Lincoln.


Tim Campbell described the support given to young entrepreneurs by Sparkhouse, the University of Lincoln’s business incubation centre, as key to the success of their businesses.


He said: “Many people have a great business idea but no concept of how to go about starting up a business. By getting the fundamentals right, such as business planning, VAT registration or market research, the chance of the business succeeding increases. I’m impressed by the work that is going on here.”


At the event - held to celebrate the success of the Incubation Lincolnshire project, which was supported by Sparkhouse Studios – Tim heard some of the entrepreneurs based at Sparkhouse talk about how they got their businesses off the ground.


Katharine Armstrong-Short who provides an interior design and home staging service through her business, said: “I knew that I had a talent for design but giving up my job and setting up my own company was a daunting prospect. The help I received from Sparkhouse, including something as simple as having a business address and a base to work from, gave me the start I needed.”


Since starting her company, Style Guide, Katharine has gone on to win a competition for an innovative business idea using IT. As a result she received significant funding for a new website based around interior design.


Tim won his position as The Apprentice in 2004 and has now set up The Bright Ideas Trust, an initiative to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. “I had a genuinely altruistic aim to help individuals from any background make a start in the business world,” he said. “The help and advice I received from Sir Alan Sugar has been invaluable and I want to pass on what I’ve learnt to a new generation, especially those who might not normally get the opportunity.”


The £300,000 project at Sparkhouse Studios was joint funded by the UK authority for the development and support of incubation environments, UK Business Incubation and the University of Lincoln. It was set up to support local entrepreneurs from groups that are currently under-represented in new start businesses.