Lord Sugar returns to our screens with a seventh series of The
Apprentice next Tuesday - and there's an interesting new twist.
Instead of handing the winner a £100,000-a-year job in his business
empire, Lord Sugar will invest £250,000 in their business idea.
While an apprenticeship under Lord Sugar has proven much
coveted, there's always been a contradiction in the entrepreneurial
aspirations of the show's candidates and the prize of ultimately
working for someone else.
Indeed, it's telling that few of the previous six winners have
hung around for too long, with most leaving to do their own
So with a shift to a truly entrepreneurial prize, will Lord
Sugar be searching for a different set of skills in this year's
Apparently so. Makers Talkback Thames insists candidates
have been 'selected for their entrepreneurial flair' and claims
this year's tasks will be more aligned with the skills needed to
start a business from scratch.
As you'd only expect, Lord Sugar has his own inimitable take on
what he's looking for in a business partner. Here's what he
tells the candidates in episode one:
"I'm going to inject £250,000 worth of cash and value into a
business, your business, and you're going to run it. And I say
you're going to run it because don't expect me to be doing all the
work - I'm not looking for a 'sleeping' partner.
"I'm not Saint Alan, the patron saint of bloody losers... You
can look at it as a bit of an uncivil partnership, so to speak. I
want you to treat this first task as if it's your own business.
Here's something to note, this is an investment, and I want some
return on my money."
We've a week to wait until we see if the new look Apprentice
really is geared to finding the next Lord Alan, but for now, let's
meet the candidates:
The Apprentices (above):(l-r - back row) Zoe Beresford, Jim
Eastwood, Ellie Reed, Leon Doyle, Tom Pellereau,Edward Hunter,
Vincent Disneur, Felicity Jackson, Glenn Ward, Edna Agbarha(l-r -
front row) Melody Hossaini, Gavin Winstanley, Helen Milligan, Susan
Ma, Alex Britez Cabral, Natasha Scribbins
Occupation: Business psychologist
One of 10 siblings, London-born Edna rose from working as a
teenager on her uncle's Covent Garden market stall to becoming a
business psychologist and coach. Edna holds a degree in Psychology,
two masters and enjoys cycling in her free time.
She says: "Weak people in business are a waste of space and a limp
handshake is unforgiveable."
Occupation: Managing director - construction recruitment
The Bradford-born entrepreneur went from paper round to starting
her own 'highly successful' recruitment business. Golf lover Ellie
describes herself as 'positive, fun and driven' and once chased a
burglar out of her house at 17.
She says: "I don't like lazy people... dole dossers that don't
want to work. I don't like posh kids who have everything on a
Occupation: Entrepreneur - creative arts
Felicity worked at a hairdressers as a teenager before going
into children's entertainment and eventually setting up her own
company specialising in career development for actors. An avid fan
of soaps and a trained actress, Felicity compares herself to MOBO
founder Kanya King and is inspired by the T-Mobile brand.
She says: "Lord Sugar will probably find it difficult to ever say
anything negative to me because I always turn it round to a
Helen Louise Milligan
Occupation: Executive assistant to CEO
Stockport-born Helen describes herself as 'calm, loyal and
tenacious' and enjoys reading in her free time. A keen swimmer, she
studied Law at university and climbed the ranks from part-time
waitress to managing a restaurant before landing her role as
executive assistant to the CEO of Greggs bakery.
She says: "I see my job as my complete life. I work 24/7. There
isn't a cut off."
Occupation: Founder & director - Global Youth
Born in Iran, Melody lived in four different countries before
settling in the UK. Melody who speaks five languages, set up a
renowned UK youth organisation at the age of 13 and has won the
'Woman of the Future' award for her voluntary work. Global Youth
Sector Entrepreneur Melody has previously worked with 12 Nobel
peace prize winners including Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Sherin
Ebadi and was trained on climate change by Al Gore.
She says: "Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are
footprints on the moon."
Occupation: Divisional manager - Recruitment
German born Natasha achieved only five GCSEs but went on to
graduate from university with a degree in International Hospitality
Management. Happy to get her hands dirty Natasha worked cleaning
the bakeries of a major retail chain at the age of 15 before
venturing into business. An avid fitness fanatic, Natasha is
inspired by the Nike brand for their representation of women in
She says:"I'm like a really fine tuned switch. If I need to turn
it down then I turn it down. If I need to turn it up then I turn it
Occupation: Natural skincare entrepreneur
Born in Shanghai, adrenaline junkie Susan moved to Australia at
the age of six before eventually settling in London aged 13. With
her mum having no grasp of English, Susan succeeded in getting
herself into a school despite her young age and went on to study
Philosophy and Economics at University. She describes herself as
'ambitious, optimistic and easy going'. Her first ever job was
working on a market stall selling skin care products which she has
now turned into a lucrative business.
She says: "I'm short, sweet and smiley but when I do business I
Occupation: Project manager - Drinks manufacturer
Born in Stoke on Trent, Zoe joined her family firm straight from
university and played an integral role in the company's development
working in sales and marketing. Zoe, who bought a house with her
sister at the age of just 12, describes her attitude as not 'why'
but 'why not'. Zoe was awarded the 'Rolls-Royce Manufacturing
Technology Prize' for the highest dissertation mark in the school
She says: "I will do whatever it takes to win."
Alex Britez Cabral
Occupation: Estate agent manager
Motorbike enthusiast Alex describes himself as 'ambitious,
driven, and extremely focused'. Born and raised in London, Alex's
first job was making tea in a small estate agents before becoming a
thriving agent himself. His greatest achievement is taking a
business losing money and turning it around to a fast growing
profitable business within 12 months.
He says: "Fear is a great motivator. If you are successful, you
are unpopular, so unpopularity is a good thing."
Half-British and half-Afghan, Reading born and raised Edward's
first job was as a gardener at the age of 12. He successfully
applied for a role in a global professional services firm
headquartered in London after university and was hired as senior
associate in the audit team before becoming an accountant at a FTSE
30 energy company. Trained at one of the world's leading
accountancy firms, Edward describes himself as a 'man with strength
of character and conviction who is honest and direct'.
He says: "I'm the wheeler dealer who accidentally became a finance
professional and wants out."
Occupation: Managing Director - Opticians
Gavin's first foray into working life was as a salesman at a high
street clothing store and was made a manager at the age of 16. A
passionate football fan, Gavin started up his own online opticians,
which now has two high-street stores, after noticing the profit
margins on glasses when working in a London department store.
He Says: "I want to be a big name in UK business.....I'm
everything. I'm all mouth. I'm a doer. I'm a leader."
Occupation: Senior design engineer
Glenn Ward took apart and rebuilt an entire computer aged 8 and
his entrepreneurial streak ensued when he began washing cars in his
local area at age 14. An amateur footballer, Glenn cites Facebook
founder Mark Zuckerberg as his inspiration and describes himself as
'an intelligent man with a dry sense of humour' who can 'read
between the lines'.
He says: "Aggression isn't the best form of strength…I bring a
marriage of technical thinking with a bit of salesman
Occupation: Sales & marketing manager
Lives: Northern Ireland
Jim started work in his father's fish & chip shop chipping
potatoes from the age of nine and went on to achieve top sales
performances as a sales and marketing manager. Jim, who was All
Ireland cycling champion as a teenager, idolises Sir Richard
Branson and describes himself as 'driven, self-motivated, resilient
and an eternal optimist.'
He says: "I'm not a show pony or a one-trick pony, I'm not a
jack-ass or a stubborn mule, and I'm definitely not a wild stallion
that needs to be tamed. I am the champion thoroughbred that this
Occupation: Fast Food Marketing Entrepreneur
Harrogate-born Leon, a former paper boy and lorry driver,
describes himself as 'charming, genuine and honest'. Leon, who
survived a near fatal fall from a tree at the age of 12 once
completed the Great North Run for charity. A director and founder
of an online takeaway ordering site and publishing business, Leon
also notes Branson as a hero and Apple as his inspirational.
He says: "I don't like your gimmicky salesman who thinks he can
sell ice to an Eskimo. Chances are he probably can't, and why would
an Eskimo buy ice".
London born Tom's first job was working on a farm sorting
agricultural bulbs from mud. A keen inventor and sports enthusiast,
Tom succeeded in taking a prototype made in his kitchen to the
shelves of two leading pharmacy outlets in the UK. He describes
himself as 'creative, adventurous, loyal and enthusiastic', and
cites Thomas Edison as an icon.
He says: "For me The Apprentice is a bit like the Olympics or the
World Cup for entrepreneurs… I want to challenge myself, find out
if I am ready to step up to this level."
Occupation: Sales Manager - Telecoms Software
Half-Belgian and half-Swiss, Glasgow-born Vincent is a film buff
and frequent traveller with a penchant for theatre. The
self-confessed perfectionist who was a Liverpool mascot as a child,
names Bill Gates and, again, Mr Branson as role models and would
love to have been the brains behind Microsoft.
He says: "My positive approach and very good looks make me stand
out from the crowd."