The Apprentice 2015: Meet the 18 candidates
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 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”.
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.
Occupation: Inventor and hair extensions specialist
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.”
Occupation: Owner, Jamaican boutique
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.”
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.”
Occupation: Owner, hair and beauty salon
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.”
Occupation: Director, fragrance retailer
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.”
Occupation: Owner, sports marketing company
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.”
Occupation: Operations executive, construction
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.”
Occupation: Programme manager
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.”
Occupation: Business management student
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.”
Occupation: Owner, plumbing business
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.”
Occupation: Sales account manager
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.”
Occupation: Corporate account manager, Telecoms
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.”
Occupation: Director, digital marketing agency
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.”
Occupation: Owner, sales training consultancy
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.”
Occupation: Private tutor
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.”
Occupation: Senior account manager, Sales
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.”
Occupation: Owner, events agency
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.”
Occupation: Social media entrepreneur
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!