IT was Week Eleven in the current series of the UK TV series The Apprentice — known as interview week. The five girls left in the process to win a £250,000 investment from entrepreneur Lord Alan Sugar, had to put their plans to the test.
Wearing their colourful business suits, and killer heels, the girls handed over their plans — and we, for the first time — got a sense of their ‘big’ ideas:
- Marnie, no business experience — wants to open a gym focussed around boxing as that’s her passion. She is an experienced boxer.
- Victoria — has run a business for a short-time selling pick and mix sweets online after leaving a job as an air steward.
- Dani — wants to expand on her single salon business and branch out into buying up hair extensions in bulk and selling them to other salons.
- Megan — wants to expand her cake/cafe/cocktail bar brand and open more bars.
- Rochelle — has a successful salon in Milton Keynes and wants to grow her brand into a chain, the next one in London’s Belgravia.
With four business gurus scrutinising their business plans, regular viewers know this is going to be a bumpy ride. This time Baroness Brady joined the judges and she was taking no prisoners. Not even allowing the sem-finalists to call her Karren — that was for her friends only (really?).
There were tears apart from Marnie who looked like she wanted to punch someone’s lights out. Every business plan got a grilling. Marnie revealed that she’s already secured £350,000 in grants and loans once she’s secured a premises for her first gym — and this has taken her three years. An accomplished boxer herself she is ready to leave her legal career and become a business owner.
The downside was that her gym model is based on trainers within the business working for nothing — in return for free use of the facilities. How naive is that? The old adage of getting someone to do something for nothing in return for that fool’s gold, exposure. I’m sure those trainers will say just one thing ‘jog on!’
Oh and it was pointed out to her that her building earmarked for a gym had 21 other gyms within a mile radius. She argued that this was a good thing, there was demand. She may have a…