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The Apprentice 2015: Meet the 18 candidates

Lord Alan Sugar with Baroness Brady and Claude Littner 

MEET the latest batch of hopefuls fighting for Lord Sugar’s approval.

A former beauty queen, a builder and a private tutor are among the candidates hoping to secure Lord Alan Sugar’s financial backing in The Apprentice 2015.

This year, a total of 18 contestants will be hoping to impress Lord Sugar and his aides Baroness Brady and Claude Littner, who replaces Nick Hewer.

The Apprentice's Karren Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner
The Apprentice’s Baroness Brady, Lord Sugar and Claude Littner (BBC)


The popular BBC One show returns for its 11th series on Wednesday October 14, and in a new twist, the contestants will not be divided into male or female groups for the first show tasks.

Viewers will also be treated to a double helping of boardroom antics for the first week only, with the launch episode followed by another one on Thursday October 15.

Lord Sugar said the “process works”, and revealed: “I’ve invested one million pounds in all four winners and all four of those people are doing fantastically well and I’m expecting the winner of this particular process to carry on that trend.”

He described the £250k investment from him that candidates win as “an acorn which we want grown into a great oak tree”.

(Ian West/PA)


The first episode will see the business newbies being tested on key business skills of product creation, negotiation and selling.

The mixed teams are sent off to Billingsgate Market, the capital’s famous fish market, to pick up seafood at the best price possible. They then have to turn their stock into lunch produce and feed hungry Londoners while making as much profit as possible.

Other tasks in the new series will involve creating an advertising campaign for shampoo, selling pet products, closing real estate and producing a new health snack.

Here are the 18 contestants hoping to win Lord Sugar’s business investment.

Aisha Kasim

 The Aprentice's Aisha Kasim
The Apprentice’s Aisha Kasim (BBC)


Age: 30

Occupation: Inventor and hair extensions specialist

Lives: London

Key information: Aisha was born in Nigeria, but has lived in the UK since she was 15. She owns a hair accessories business and says Victoria Beckham is one of her business inspirations.

Top quote: “Pressure makes diamonds. It’s something I respond well to, I think it’s go hard or go home.”

April Jackson

The Apprentice's April Jackson
The Apprentice’s April Jackson (BBC)


Age: 26

Occupation: Owner, Jamaican boutique

Lives: London

Key information: April is a former Miss Jamaica, who was born in London, but has lived in Jamaica. She’s also lived in France and studied in New York. April has founded an event management company and a children’s charity.

Top quote: “I’m Jamaican; we come first, we win on the track and we will win in the boardroom.”

Brett Butler-Smythe

The Apprentice's Brett Butler-Smythe
The Apprentice’s Brett Butler-Smythe (BBC)


Age: 28

Occupation: Builder

Lives: Plymouth

Key information: Brett worked in the Royal Navy as a marine engineer, and later started his own property business.

Top quote: “I pride myself on not having any negative or bad traits about myself, they’re all good, they’re all positive.”

Charleine Wain

The Apprentice's Charleine Wain
The Apprentice’s Charleine Wain (BBC)


Age: 31

Occupation: Owner, hair and beauty salon

Lives: Plymouth

Key information: Charleine served in the Royal Navy for 11 and a half years before starting her own hair and beauty salon, and an online clothing boutique.

Top quote: “I would describe myself as very determined, ambitious, and I always want to show that women can succeed in business.”

Dan Callaghan

The Apprentice's Dan Callaghan
The Apprentice’s Dan Callaghan (BBC)


Age: 23

Occupation: Director, fragrance retailer

Lives: Manchester

Key information: Dan landed his first job after university working for an MEP at the European Parliament in Belgium. He cites Jeff Bezos of Amazon as one of his business inspirations.

Top quote: “I’m just a generally all round quite entertaining person, I think. A lot of people laugh at me.”

David Stevenson

The Apprentice's David Stevenson
The Apprentice’s David Stevenson (BBC)


Age: 25

Occupation: Owner, sports marketing company

Lives: Nottingham

Key information: David’s proudest business moment was successfully promoting a high profile women’s football match, which sold-out to capacity.

Top quote: “Me and Lord Sugar will work together because you’ve got age and beauty and those two go hand in hand all the time. Sugar’s got the age and I certainly am beautiful.”

Elle Stevenson

The Apprentice's Elle Stevenson
The Apprentice’s Elle Stevenson (BBC)


Age: 21

Occupation: Operations executive, construction

Lives: London

Key information: Elle is the youngest of the group and says she’s a “geezer bird”. She’s taught herself fluent Latin and cites Taylor Swift as her business inspiration.

Top quote: “I’ve never been the person that comes second. I’d rather be the one who fell over at the start of the race and never made it to the finish line.”

Gary Poulton

The Apprentice's Gary Poulton
The Apprentice’s Gary Poulton (BBC)


Age: 34

Occupation: Programme manager

Lives: Nottingham

Key information: Gary cites his biggest business achievement as delivering the largest property development programme in the history of the supermarket he worked for during 2010-11.

Top quote: “I look like the nice, easy going, laid-back Brummie but once I start doing my business, people know I’m the real deal.”

Jenny Garbis

The Apprentice's Jenny Garbis
The Apprentice’s Jenny Garbis (BBC)


Age: 23

Occupation: Business management student

Lives: London

Key information: Jenny is an adrenalin junkie. She also got the highest marks for her Business Studies course. She says Harry Potter star Emma Watson is her business inspiration.

Top quote: “You will see my name in lights; Jenny Garbis, don’t forget that. That’s going to be a global name. That’s going to be an entrepreneur everyone looks up to.”

Joseph Valente

The Apprentice's Joseph Valente
The Apprentice’s Joseph Valente (BBC)


Age: 25

Occupation: Owner, plumbing business

Lives: Peterborough

Key information: Joseph says business is like being a parent, as it needs undivided attention and nurturing. Hugh Hefner is one of his role models.

Top quote: “I am the definition of success, I’m a godfather of business and I’m here to make Lord Sugar a lot of money.”

Mergim Butaja

The Apprentice's Mergim Butaja
The Apprentice’s Mergim Butaja (BBC)


Age: 23

Occupation: Sales account manager

Lives: Coventry

Key information: Kosovan-born Mergim fled from the war-torn country to the UK with his parents and siblings when he was seven. Since the age of 18, he has been supporting his family by working in a range of jobs.

Top quote: “Why am I a worthy business partner for Lord Sugar? I’d be a challenge to him. Everyone he’s met probably sucks up to him. I won’t. I’ll tell him like it is.”

Natalie Dean

The Apprentice's Natalie Dean
The Apprentice’s Natalie Dean (BBC)


Age: 25

Occupation: Corporate account manager, Telecoms

Lives: Coventry

Key information: Natalie’s business background is in corporate management in the telecoms industry. She describes herself as a tomboy and has a passion for football, playing for a local women’s team and supporting Sheffield Wednesday.

Top quote: “If I set my mind to something, I won’t quit until I have done it.”

Richard Woods

The Apprentice's Richard Woods
The Apprentice’s Richard Woods (BBC)


Age: 31

Occupation: Director, digital marketing agency

Lives: London

Key information: Richard’s only regret is not being a millionaire before turning 30. He cites Richard Branson as one of his inspirations.

Top quote: “I’m a Swiss army knife of bouncy skills, business skills, enthusiasm, I’ve got everything highly tuned and highly chiselled.”

Ruth Whiteley

The Apprentice's Ruth Whiteley
The Apprentice’s Ruth Whiteley (BBC)


Age: 47

Occupation: Owner, sales training consultancy

Lives: Harrogate

Key information: Ruth previously worked as a DJ on a mid-morning show for her local radio station as well as a stint as a court reporter.

Top quote: “Lord Sugar might think I’m a bit gushing, he might find me over-zealous, but I think he’ll think I’m great.”

Sam Curry

The Apprentice's Sam Curry
The Apprentice’s Sam Curry (BBC)


Age: 23

Occupation: Private tutor

Lives: London

Key information: Sam has been working as a tutor since leaving university. He has a passion for the arts and has taken part in numerous films and stage productions.

Top quote: “I’m an interesting mix between happy go lucky and adventurous and then quite logical and sensible. It’s a strange combination.”

Scott Saunders

The Apprentice's Scott Saunders
The Apprentice’s Scott Saunders (BBC)


Age: 27

Occupation: Senior account manager, Sales

Lives: Hertfordshire

Key information: Scott describes himself as sharp, motivated and obsessed with making his first million.

Top quote: “People do say to me they’ve never met anyone like me.”

Selina Waterman-Smith

The Apprentice's Selina Waterman-Smith
The Apprentice’s Selina Waterman-Smith (BBC)


Age: 31

Occupation: Owner, events agency

Lives: Dubai

Key information: Selina studied in the UK before setting up her own events company in Dubai. She incorporates her performing arts background with the circus into many of the events that her company hosts.

Top quote: “I am strong-minded; I do like to be the leader.”

Vana Koutsomitis

The Apprentice's Vana Koutsomitis
The Apprentice’s Vana Koutsomitis (BBC)


Age: 27

Occupation: Social media entrepreneur

Lives: Barcelona

Key information: Vana speaks five languages and grew up in New York, but has also studied in Spain, France and China. She sold her old toys on the streets of New York and cites Ashton Kutcher as one of her biggest business inspirations because he has an eye for commercial ventures.

Top quote: “I believe this is a marathon and if you have stamina and if you do things with integrity, morals and direction, you can get where you want to go.”

We have our 2015 hopefuls so let the boardroom battle begin!

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