After 11 demanding weeks battling it out against Britain’s brightest business talents, only four candidates remain in Lord Sugar’s search for a business partner. Jim Eastwood, Susan Ma, Tom Pellereau and Helen Milligan will all go head to head this SUNDAY in The Apprentice 2011 final.
Lord Sugar will decide who will walk away with a £250,000 investment in the business of their choosing, with the Lord himself as their new business partner.
In one of the most closely contended series ever, the four finalists will face a grilling like no other as they endure the dreaded interview stage where they will be cross-examined by Lord Sugar’s most unforgiving associates; ruthless troubleshooter Claude Littner, pioneer of Britain's free magazine business Mike Soutar, chief executive Matthew Riley and his eyebrow raising confidant Margaret Mountford.
Their business proposals will be dissected with great scrutiny as they try to negotiate their way over one final hurdle in what has been Lord Sugar’s toughest race yet, and as his candidates enter the final furlong Lord Sugar says: “They are all worthy finalists but only one of them will emerge victorious. Once my trusted colleagues get them under the microscope I have no doubt that flaws will be uncovered, and we will see who truly warrants my investment.”
Executive Assistant, Helen Milligan from Northumberland, made her mark on the series with an unrivalled winning streak spanning nine weeks, beating the previous record-holder, series one candidate, James Max, who held the record with eight consecutive wins. Helen also secured a two for two track record as Project Manager, leading teams to victory in the rubbish disposal and biscuit tasks. She also secured over £1 million in sales across two tasks, smashing all previous records. She says: “I believe I’m one of the best employees a company could take on. I’m extremely loyal and extremely hard working but now it’s time for me to start my own business with Lord Sugar and start reaping some success for myself. I really want this.”
Northern Irish Sales and Marketing Manager, Jim Eastwood, dubbed ‘Jedi Jim’ and a self proclaimed ‘Irish bulldozer of charm’ narrowly escaped a firing in week five when his fateful idea Everydog was slammed by marketing professionals. He has gone on to redeem himself, routinely proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in the boardroom and was awarded the Biggest Bulls**tter in the World by Lord Sugar after task nine. He says: “The competition is heightening. I’m bubbling over with ideas, passion and ability. I’m big time ready and I’ve got so much more to give. It’s not arrogance but I’m here to be Lord Sugar’s business partner. I believe I’ve got the full package.”
Born in Shanghai, natural skin-care entrepreneur Susan Ma is the youngest of the finalists aged just 21 and was hailed by Lord Sugar as “the mouse that roared” before cruising to victory as PM on the international task with a boardroom sales record of €228,699. She says: “I have natural entrepreneurial spirit, so much drive and so many ideas. I’m confident that my business with Lord Sugar will make millions.”
London-born inventor Tom survived five consecutive defeats at the start of the process but stumbled further after a disastrous performance as PM in Paris. Nevertheless, his analytical accuracy and self proclaimed “core of steel” have seen him through to the final. He says: “I’ve had to really fight to stay in this process. I’ve had to continuously had to prove why I am a worthy business partner but the prospect of the investment and working with Lord Sugar is an intense driver to make this happen.”
16 Candidates. Four Finalists. One Opportunity. Lord Sugar’s search for his business partner is almost over…
The Apprentice 2011 final airs this Sunday, July 17, on BBC One at 9PM. A special edition of The Apprentice: You’re Hired! will follow at 10PM, also on BBC One.