APPRENTICE 2011: Entrepreneur Simon Duffy reviews the final

Well, that's it. It's all over for another year and now we're left with just the smoldering remains of another series.

I don't want to call myself Mystic Meg, but my prediction after episode one was that Tom and Susan would be in the final. And so it came to pass. I shall now take my celebratory glass of Innocent Smoothie and retire to a comfortable chair to drink to my own foresight. Cheers, foresight.

On one level I'm thrilled that Tom won; he's a nice guy who seems intelligent and enthusiastic.  On another level, though, the season seemed to be a bit of a misfit. I can't help but think that the format was designed for one thing (i.e. finding an apprentice) and the conclusion was that they found an entrepreneur. Judging by the comments on Twitter, I wasn't alone in thinking this.

I've spent the last few weeks looking at each task and considering what that means from an entrepreneur's perspective, but I'd somehow forgotten that it would all come down to the business plan and the interview.

As interview processes go, it was a funny old mix. I always enjoy Margaret at work, particularly her power eyebrow, the one that says, "I think you're talking rubbish and I'm disgusted with you as a person." She certainly didn't disappoint.

My least favourite interviewer was the guy who insisted that people pretend they were in an elevator in order to give their elevator pitch. Which really bad interview book did he read this in? Would it not have been possible to just ask them to give their pitch? If I ever found myself in an elevator with that guy he would have ended up with a lot more than my 30-second synopsis.

Helen, Helen, Helen. What on earth were you thinking? Never has a candidate done so much to achieve so little. She dominated the tasks, she won our heads if not our hearts and delivered some stunning results.

However, in the final analysis it would be an understatement to say that she didn't have a business idea. Wouldn't it have been possible to short circuit straight to the interview round and save Helen the effort of 11 tasks? Oh yes, that's called Dragons' Den.

Jim's plan was almost as pathetic as Helen's. It turns out that Jedi mind tricks don't work when your business plan has been made up to please the idea of Lord Sugar that lives in your head. Taxi for Jim please.

I felt sorry for Susan after a great effort throughout and I hope I'm not being biased saying that I thought her plan was best. It was certainly the only one grounded in reality and experience. Lord Sugar wasn't keen on competing with the likes of L'Oreal, but that's something we do on a daily basis and we think there are lots of ways to beat them that don't involve money.

Tom's plan was almost as bad as Jim and Helen's, but came with the added advantage that he already had a successful product that had nothing to do with his idea. It turns out that Lord Sugar didn't like Tom's chair, but chose him anyway, which makes the interview process and the entire series er… pointless. Lord Sugar evidently thought that all the business plans were rubbish including the winner's.

So, did we enjoy it? Sure. Did we learn anything? Possibly. Will we watch the next series? Of course we will.

Check out Smarta editor Matt Thomas' review of the final episode of The Apprentice

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