Twelve weeks of tasks, boardroom tantrums and rubbish business talk has led to the final of The Apprentice. The four who made it this far are: Jade, Nick, Tom and Ricky, and all that is between them and becoming Lord Sugar’s business partner is the gruelling interview stage.
Each have their own business plan and they want Lord Sugar to help fund their business venture. This, of course, means it should be an idea that Lord Sugar will actually like.
Nick wants to create some software that allows you to buy all the ingredients for recipes that you find on the internet with one click, Tom has a wine hedge fund plan, Jade wants to create a massive call centre and Ricky has a plan for his own recruitment agency. All a bit underwhelming.
Margaret Mountford returns for the interviews, alongside Claude Littner, Mike Soutar and Matthew Riley. Jade is immediately counted out of winning the competition as she intended to spend the entire £250,000 awarded from Lord Sugar in six months to cover the costs of the business, this didn’t go down well. On top of that her business plan, a giant call centre, is called unethical as nobody likes being disturbed by call centres trying to sell you stuff. There is further embarrassment as she tells Soutar that she has bought all the web addresses for her business. Turns out she hasn’t so Soutar bought one instead. Quite clearly Jade is out of the running.
The interviewing panel do not understand Nick’s idea which would allow people to buy recipe ingredients all at once from your supermarket of choice online. “Why would people buy things off the internet? Who plans their meals for the week?” ask the panel, which I think shows how far from reality business people actually are. So they resort to telling Nick he is odd because he grew up in Switzerland and didn’t watch television until he was 16.
Ricky gets a bit of a bashing in the interviews because in his application for The Apprentice he called Lord Sugar an old dog and said that he would be able to teach him new tricks. In his application he also referred to himself as the Thor of business. Soutar finally asks what everyone else has thought for the past 12 weeks — “Why do you call yourself Ricky Martin?” Turns out it is just to be remembered through association with the singer Ricky Martin. Luckily his business plan is impressive.
Tom’s wine hedge fund business idea is similar to what he already does now, which has made a healthy profit. The problem is the interviews make Tom look as though he is a bit of a daddy’s boy because he is in business with his father, who also wrote him a reference letter for his Apprentice application. Tom is also young, at 23, but Karren and Nick rush to say that shouldn’t count because you too were young businessman once, Lord Sugar.
Eventually the embarrassing interviews are over and Lord Sugar has to make a decision. Jade is out of the running first, Sugar does not want his name associated with a business that calls you up on a Sunday afternoon trying to sell you something. Nick is the next to go because Lord Sugar cannot see how he can make money out of his idea.
This just leaves Tom and Ricky to fight it out. Lord Sugar has to make a decision between the safe choice of Ricky’s business or Tom’s risky plan. And in the end Sugar chooses Ricky, after he promises that he will no longer talk like an idiot.
So that’s it for this year, if you want to relive the series then it is still all on iPlayer. But it is important to add that Lord Sugar isn’t bored or business yet as applications are now open for series nine.