Another year, another troupe of be-suited egos looking to score a contract from Alan Sugar. Meet this year’s cast of The Apprentice!
The eighth series has got it all – from a profession wrestler to a show jumper, a shark diver to a woman who runs a bridal shop! The 16 contestants will compete for the chance to have Lord Sugar invest £250,000 into their business idea.
But the stubbly businessman said that he’s not looking for a mate: “This is not about a job anymore and I’m not looking for a friend, if I wanted a friend, I’d get a dog. I’m looking for a partner, the ‘Marks’ to my ‘Spencer’, the ‘Lennon to my ‘McCartney’.”
Without further ado, here are the contestants:
Bilyana Apostolova, 25, Risk Analyst, London
Bulgarian-born Bilyana started working aged six, selling snails from her grandparents’ farm to pharmaceutical companies. Now she rollerblades to and from her work in London’s square mile. In her words: “I got myself from a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria to the top of a skyscraper in the heart of the City of London.”
Gabrielle Omar, 29, Architect, London
Gabrielle started off helping out at her parents’ fish and chip shop aged 14. She only learned how to ride a bike last year, but once travelled to 13 countries in one year! In her words: “When it comes to business I can be like an animal and I will roar my way to the top.”
Jade Nash, 29, Business Development Manager, Bedfordshire
After a childhood of helping out on her parents’ caravan park, Jade worked as an 18-30 rep. She loves cars and often attends drag racing events. In her words: “What I want is to be able to retire when I’m 45, but I’m such a workaholic that I’ll probably carry on until I’m 80.”
Jane McEvoy, 28, Co-founder of Food Manufacturing Company, Kilkenny, Ireland.
Jane is a mum of one and loves animals. If she never had to worry about money, she’d open an animal shelter for cats and dogs. In her words: “Anything is achievable if you have drive, determination and a seriously good work ethic.”
Jenna Whittingham, 25, Beauty Salon Owner, Lancashire.
Dyslexic Jenna has never been away from home for longer than a week, and absolutely loves horses. So much so that she competed at the Wembley 1998 Horse of the Year show. In her words: “My personality and character is ‘once seen never forgotten’”
Katie Wright, 26, Editorial and Research Director, London.
Katie loves football and supports Fulham. She landed her first job aged 13 as a pot washer in a French restaurant. She says she wishes she was the brains behind baked beans, whatever that means. In her words: “I would call myself ‘The Blonde Assassin’ I let people underestimate me just so I can blow them out of the water.”
Laura Hogg, 28, Bridal Shop Owner, Glasgow.
Scot Laura is a mum of one and loves skiing. She is a fan of winter sports, and once skated with Torvil and Dean. She says she’ll help others out but is prone to being stubborn. In her words: “I am going to be one of Scotland’s next big exports”
Maria O’Connor, 20, Restauranteur, Kent
Maria opened her own Greek restaurant when she was only 19 and says her inspiration is Gordon Ramsay. She wishes she was the brains behind cotton buds because they are cheap but used in every household. In her words: “If you chuck me in the deep end I’ll swim, I won’t sink.”
Adam Corbally, 32, Market Trader, Derbyshire
Dad-of-two Adam got his first job stacking bread at his local Co-op. He now runs a wholesale fruit and veg business and manages properties. He also organises the annual turning on of his local Christmas lights. In his words: “I get too excited, but that shows my passion, it shows my drive and it shows my ability.”
Azhar Siddique, 33, Founder and Managing Director of Catering and Refrigeration Company, Manchester.
Azhar loves diving and has TWO pet sharks. He also enjoys strength training and thai boxing. He says he’s inspired by IKEA and admires its founder, Invgar Kamprad, for having such high standards. In his words: “It’s not who shouts the loudest, it’s who has the ability to control the conversation.”
Duane Bryan, 29, Founder/Director of Drinks Distribution Company, Manchester.
Duane once chased and caught a hit-and-run driver and says that his biggest strength is his creativity. He says he likes clubbing and pubbing and is inspired by the Jaegermeister brand. In his words: “I am a winner and I am a fighter, in order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.”
Michael Copp, 31, MD Kitchen and Bedroom Furniture Retailer, London
Michael says his biggest strength is his positivity. He’s dyslexic and wishes he’d worked harder at school – he left aged 15. He wishes he was the brains behind Apple because he admires how they’ve cornered the market and set themselves apart from rivals. In his words: “I’m better than unique, I’m naturally gifted in business.”
Nick Holzherr, 25, Technology Entrepreneur, Birmingham
Nick’s already seen recognition for his entrepreneurial success – he was named ‘emerging entrepreneur of the year’ by Insider Magazine in 2010. When he was nine, he earned money by selling lost golf balls back to golfers. In his words: “I’ve got lots of ideas, I know how to whittle them down into ideas that will work and I’ve got what it takes to make them actually happen.”
Ricky Martin (no, not that one), 26, Recruitment Team Leader, Hampshire
By day, Ricky’s a recruitment manger, and by night he’s a professional wrestler! He’s also an amateur body-builder, training five to six times a week. In his words: “I truly am the reflection of perfection.”
Stephen Brady, 33, National Sales Manager, Vienna.
Stephen, who was born in Ireland, loves new languages and reading and writing. He used to live in New York, and once played in the FA cup as a semi-professional footballer. In his words: “Enthusiasm is a huge asset of mine and I believe it’s caught and not taught.”
Tom Gearing, 23, Director of a Fine Wine Investment Company, London
Tom supports West Ham and plays for a Sunday league team. He is inspired by Candy & Candy and wishes he was the brains behind ASOS. He says that he can sometimes be over-confident. In his words: “I’m confident, charismatic and some people say I’m quite good looking, so that adds to the bill.”