What The Apprentice winners are doing now, from the failures to the high-fliers
The Apprentice is back with sixteen ambitious entrepreneurs all gunning to win Lord Alan Sugar's approval when series 15 kicks off tonight.
From librarian Lotti Lion to bakery owner Carina Lepore and para-athlete Souleyman Bah, the competition for the £250,000 investment and 50/50 partnership with Lord Sugar himself is set to be fierce.
Last year victory went to Sian Gabbidon, who owns and runs a swimwear fashion brand.
And in 2017, two contestants were named champions for the first time ever.
James White, who runs an IT recruitment firm, and Sarah Lynn , who owns a confectionery company, were both given £250,000 by Lord Sugar.
For over a decade, eager entrepreneurs have queued up to endure painful put-downs and acid tongue-lashings from the business mogul.
Some have survived The Apprentice boardroom – others have been reduced to tearful, quivering wrecks after hearing the dreaded words: “You’re fired!”
A handful have gone on to build empires bringing in millions while a few ended up on the dole queue.
Here we look back at the winners (and some of the losers) – and reveal what they’re up to now.
Sian Gabbidon – Series 14 (2018)
WHAT SHE DID NEXT: Sian ploughed the prize money straight back into her swimwear business, Sian Marie, and this year her SS19 Tropical Goddess collection was worn by actress Michelle Keegan and Love Island's Hayley Hughes.
After winning The Apprentice, Sian focused on building her team in Leeds and growing the company from small scale to mass production.
"Alongside this I also designed, sampled, shot and launched our summer swimwear range – with a huge celebrity party at Sheesh restaurant," she told This Is Money.
James White and Sarah Lynn – Series 13 (2017)
WHAT THEY DID NEXT: Sarah's personalised sweet company, Sweets in the City, has gone from strength to strength since Lord Sugar joined as a partner and is now stocked in Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
It's been a rockier road for James though, with his IT recruitment company, Right Time Recruitment, said to have suffered a series of 'unfortunate setbacks' and lost £30,000 in the first six months.
However, his Birmingham-based work force has swelled from one (him) to 17 and there are plans to open a London office and bump up the team to 25.
And Sarah said there's nothing unusual about losses ahead of expansion.
“I think it’s fairly normal,” Sarah Lynn told the Express. “Especially because you’re planning for growth, you’re doing things quite quickly and investing in development and stuff and you often have to do that before you see the rewards.
“If anything, I’m sure he’ll see the benefits long-term of that initial investment.”
Alana Spencer – Series 12 (2016)
WHAT SHE DID NEXT: Alana put the £250,000 into her baking business Ridiculously Rich, and set up an ambassador plan with Lord Sugar.
She exclusively told Mirror TV her turnover has gone from £100,000 to an expected £450,000 in a year thanks to winning The Apprentice.
Joseph Valente – Series 11 (2015)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: Joseph Valente split from Lord Sugar earlier this year, just two years after Lord Sugar invested £250,000 into his plumbing business.
Joseph announced he would take full control of ImpraGas – but they parted on friendly terms.
At the time, Lord Sugar said: "I'll still be on hand to offer any help and advice required. I wish Joseph and ImpraGas all the very best for the future and will follow their progress with much affection."
Joseph added: "I am so grateful for everything Lord Sugar has done for me and I could not have asked for a better partner in the early stages of my business career.
"I owe him a great deal. I am confident that with the winning business model we created together, I can continue to grow the business successfully."
Mark Wright – Series 10 (2014)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: Australian-born Mark won a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar in 2014 to start his digital marketing agency, Climb Online – which has become the most successful company to have gained investment through the BBC show, bringing in £5million a year.
Following growth and success in both Bristol and London, Mark expanded the company to Manchester earlier this year.
At the time, he said: “Climb Online is a vision that I have had for several years.
“I moved to the UK in 2012 after six months of travelling and got my first full time job working at an internet marketing Agency.
“Five years on, Climb Online is about to open in its third location, and we have become the go-to business for marketing success, and I am excited to see what Manchester has in store for us!"
The company works with businesses of all sizes to increase their online presence.
He is also dating Series Nine winner Dr Leah Totton.
Leah Totton – Series Nine (2013)
WHAT SHE DID NEXT: Leah has used her £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar to open several cosmetic surgery clinics.
The launch was controversial, with critics claiming it would encourage women to have more treatments but Leah batted off the comments and her clinics have been a huge success.
Leah also works part-time as a locum doctor in NHS A&E centre, and is dating Series 10 winner Mark Wright.
Ricky Martin – Series Eight (2012)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: Former pro wrestler Ricky Martin boasted on the show: “I’m like a shark, right at the top of the food chain. I take what I want, when I want. I truly am the reflection of perfection.”
He went on to win over Lord Sugar with his business plan for a specialist science recruitment company.
He is now the managing director of Essex-based business Hyper Recruitment Solutions, set up with the £250,000 investment winners now get. Qualified biochemist Ricky – who changed his name from Richard to emulate the pop star – and Lord Sugar each own half the business.
He’s gone on to win numerous business awards and is earning several million pounds each year.
Tom Pellereau – Series Seven (2011)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: Tom was on the losing team five weeks in a row and an exasperated Lord Sugar once barked at him: “If you nod your head any longer, I’m going to put you on the back seat of my bloody car.”
But the inventor still triumphed and went into business with the tycoon developing Stylfile nail care products to be sold at Tesco and Asda supermarkets. Their company has made a turnover of £1.5million.
Since his winning S-shaped nail file, he’s also launched a new makeup brush-cleaning gadget Stylpro and other time-saving beauty tech like gel nail polish remover clips and a baby-safe nail clipper.
Stella English – Series Six (2010)
WHAT SHE DID NEXT: The highs of winning The Apprentice were soon followed by deep lows for Stella.
She quit her £100,000 job at Lord Sugar’s company Viglen and took it to an employment tribunal claiming it wasn’t the role she was promised and she was just an “overpaid lackey”.
She lost her claim for constructive dismissal after telling the hearing she had only £90 left in her bank and was later pictured going into a job centre.
Stella is now a host for Crowd Box – a TV channel that helps entrepreneurs raise money through crowd-funding – and works as a management consultant.
Yasmina Siadatan – Series Five (2009)
WHAT SHE DID NEXT: Restaurant owner Yasmina fulfilled her one-year £100,000 contract at Lord Sugar’s Amscreen Healthcare company, which supplies advertising and information screens to hospitals and GPs.
After taking time off to have two children, she was headhunted by former Dragon’s Den star James Caan.
Yasmina now works as creative director of Start Up Loans.
She has also run as a Tory candidate for council, and spoken about her half-brother who fled Britain to become an IS fighter in Syria, explaining that they had "lost touch" five years earlier.
Lee McQueen – Series Four (2008)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: Lee – renowned for his “That’s what I’m talking about!” catchphrase – rang in sick with food poisoning on what should have been his first day at Lord Sugar’s company.
But he went on to work there for two and a half years, setting up a successful digital media business with his boss’s son Simon. Next he founded a company to help young people get recruitment and sales jobs.
Lee has 18 employees and the firm is expected to make nearly £1.5million by the end of this year.
Simon Ambrose – Series Three (2007)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: Simon memorably caused Sir Alan to explode with frustration as he struggled to put together trampolines he was trying to flog on a television shopping channel.
But the Cambridge graduate won the series and went on to work for Lord Sugar’s property company Amsprop for three years, as well as studying to be a chartered surveyor.
Simon is now a property developer, runs an events company and has invested in a restaurant.
Among his Apprentice rivals was Katie Hopkins, who went on to appear on Celebrity Big Brother .
Michelle Dewberry – Series Two (2006)
WHAT SHE DID NEXT: After landing a £100,000 job with Lord Sugar, Michelle worked on the launch of Xenon Green, which specialised in computer equipment disposal.
She left the company before the end of her 12-month contract and set up her own consultancy firm to support aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Michelle also became a Sky News TV pundit and runs a shopping website, dailychic.co.uk.
A few years ago she had to have surgery to remove a spot on her face after a biopsy revealed it was cancerous.
She urged fans to get pimples checked.
Tim Campbell – Series One (2005)
WHAT HE DID NEXT: The former London Underground transport manager joined Sir Alan’s company Amstrad and launched the Integra anti-wrinkle device at Argos and Harrods.
He left in March 2007 and is now head of client services for recruitment firm Alexander Mann Solutions and London Mayor Boris Johnson ’s ambassador for training and enterprise.
A few years ago, Tim was diagnosed with testicular cancer but fought back with the support of his wife Jasmine.
And two memorable losers
Stuart Baggs – Series Six (fired in week 11)
MEMORABLE MOMENTS: At 21, Stuart Baggs “The Brand” was the show’s youngest candidate – and his boastful quotes are legendary.
They include: “Everything I touch turns to sold” and “I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a 10-trick pony, I have a field full of ponies and they’re all literally running towards this job”.
But he fabricated details about a telecommunications licence from his business leading to Lord Sugar shouting “You’re full of s**t” and firing him.
WHAT HE DID NEXT: On 30 July 2015, Stuart was tragically found dead in his home aged 27, due to an asthma attack.
Two years before, he claimed The Apprentice had made him “the most unemployable person in the whole country”.
Philip Taylor – Series Five (fired in week seven)
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