The weeks have flown by since The Apprentice returned to our screens back in January and it’s now crunch time for the finalists, Harpreet Kaur and Kathryn Burn.
Their place in the final two was confirmed during the semi-final episode last week after their business plans and CVs were scrutinized by Lord Alan Sugar’s most trusted advisors. It is now between Harpreet’s dessert company and Kathryn’s matching family pajama business.
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Whoever wins tonight will become the billionaire’s 17th business partner and will receive his £250,000 investment after whittling down the potential candidates throughout the weeks.
And with Lord Sugar just about to inject a heap more cash into another business, we thought we’d look back over the years from the very first winner in 2005 to 2019 – when he last found a new business partner.
2005 – Tim Campbell
Tim Campbell was the first-ever winner of The Apprentice back in 2005. The runner-up the same year was Saira Khan who has since been a panelist on Loose Women.
The now 44-year-old won when the prize for the successful candidate was slightly different. He earned himself a £100,000-a-year job working with Lord Sugar and after joining the businessman’s electronics company, Amstrad, Tim soon became the Project Director of the company’s health and beauty division.
His 12-month contract came to an end in 2007 and he went on to pair up with diplomat Richard Morris to form the charity Bright Ideas Trust, which was aimed at helping disadvantaged build their own businesses. Tim also soon became a Social Enterprise Ambassador as part of the British government initiative that aimed to apply modern business solutions to social and environmental problems.
As for now, Tim currently runs his own digital marketing agency called Marketing Runner and viewers have been seeing him as Lord Sugar’s aid on the recent series after he stepped in for Claude Littner who couldn’t film for the series following a bike accident.
2006 – Michelle Dewberry
Michelle Dewberry followed in Tim’s footsteps and was the second winner of The Apprentice 16 years ago. Like Tim, she worked at Amstrad for over a year before becoming a self-employed consultant.
But she soon made a career U-turn and ventured into the media, starting by joining Business Matters magazine as a monthly columnist in 2009 and a few years ago she became a frequent panelist on The Pledge on Sky News.
Then, in December 2021, it was announced that Michelle was joining GB News with a prime time show, Dewbs & Co, which airs at 6pm on weeknights.
2007 – Simon Ambrose
Simon Ambrose was crowned the winner of the third series of the reality show back in 2007. In a slight change to the previous two winners, Simon was given a role at Lord Sugar’s property company Amsprop.
However, less than ten years after his win, Simon was reported to have switched from property to be operating several London bars and restaurants as well as serving as chairman of the London Contemporary Orchestra.
2008 – Lee McQueen
Lee McQueen was Lord Sugar’s fourth business partner, emerging victorious despite lying on his CV and becoming known for his “reverse pterodactyl” impression.
Like with the previous winners, instead of investment, Lee won the ability to work with Lord Sugar in helping to set up Amscreen, which formed part of the businessman’s holding company, Amshold.
After more than two years at Amscreen, Lee left to set up his own sales training company called Raw Talent Academy, and technology company Phoenix 51. In 2011 he launched an academy in Bristol but he is based in Oxfordshire where he lives with his wife and three children as well as running his company.
2009 – Yasmina Siadatan
Yasmina Siadatan won The Apprentice in 2009 and went on to work for Lord Sugar’s medical supply division of Amstrad, Amscreen Health Care, where 2008 winner Lee was still working at the time.
She left the company after a few months following the birth of her son before she was hired by Dragons Den star James Caan, setting up Start Up Loans. She recently told BerkshireLive that she is now helping to run a fintech company Dynamic Planner based in Reading.
2010 – Stella English
Stella English won The Apprentice 12 years ago and again, went on to work for Lord Sugar’s IT division Viglen for over a year. But things took a messy turn when she brought a constructive dismissal case against the entrepreneur, claiming that she had been forced to resign, which was later dismissed by a court.
She went on to work as a management consultant at computer giant HP, before she began hosting Crowdbox TV, a crowdfunding TV channel, in 2014.
2011 – Tom Pellereau
Tom Pellereau won the seventh series of The Apprentice back in 2011 and is thought to be the most successful winner ever. He was the first to receive a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar which he injected straight in his invention Stylfile, a curved nail file.
It is still stocked by shops across the UK, and Tom has continued his working relationship with Lord Sugar, running a beauty accessories company with him called AVENTom.
2012 – Ricky Martin
Qualified biochemist Ricky Martin was crowned winner of The Apprentice in June 2012 and has since successfully set up and expanded his own specialist recruitment consultancy, Hyper Recruitment Solutions, with Lord Sugar owning half the business.
2013 – Leah Totton
Winning the show back in 2013, Leah Totton used her £250,000 investment to open several ethical surgery clinics alongside Lord Sugar, named Dr Leah Cosmetics.
Leah also worked part-time as a locum doctor in NHS A&E center as she set up her businesses which includes a number of clinics in Baker Street and Canary Wharf.
2014 – Mark Wright
Mark Wright, the 10th winner of The Apprentice, used his investment money to start digital marketing company Climb Online.
According to the Express the business, since its launch, has secured contracts with more than 250 businesses including Company Check, Groupon, and Emirates. They also report that Climb Online turned over £5million in 2020.
Mark won UK entrepreneur of the year in 2018 and was also listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017. In summer 2020 he also announced he had become an official UK citizen after moving from Australia in 2012.
2015 – Joseph Valente
Joseph Valente secured investment from Lord Sugar during series 11 after creating his own plumbing business from scratch as a teenager. However, Lord Sugar left the company, ImpraGas, in 2018 after Joseph bought back all his shares of it.
He had since sold the boiler installation business in early 2020 and is now the CEO of his company Trade Mastermind, which gives advice and training to businesses in the construction industry. He also penned his own book, Billionaire Boardroom, which was a bestseller on Amazon.
Joseph also opened up about suffering from depression after selling ImpraGas due to online abuse he received. He told the Metro: “The damage is done. I got abused, hardcore, online by all of the haters that were waiting for me to fail. I took a lot of grief from it. It hit me extremely hard. You know, it was the worst depression, I’ve probably ever experienced.
2016 – Alana Spencer
Alana Spencer won the 2016 series, convincing Lord Sugar to invest in her cake-making company, Ridiculously Rich by Alana. But a few years after the win, Lord Sugar and Alana parted ways in 2019.
She has four Ridiculously Rich stores in Wales, opened the business’ first café in Aberystwyth, on the first day of the Welsh firebreak lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
2017 – Sarah Lynn and James White
In an Apprentice first, Lord Sugar couldn’t choose just one winner and decided to invest in both of the final two candidates in 2017.
Sarah Lynn put her £250,000 investment into her sweets business, Sweets in the City, which has gone from strength to strength and seen the company release their own brand of sweets in addition as well as being stocked in Harrods and Selfridges.
Meanwhile, James White used his money on his Right Time Recruitment company, which he set up in 2016, but in 2020 it was confirmed that the two entrepreneurs had parted ways.
2018 – Sian Gabbidon
In 2018 it was Sian Gabbidon’s reversible swimwear range, Sian Marie, that secured Lord Sugar’s all-important investment. She has since expanded her business into party clothes and loungewear.
The brand expanded to sell through popular online fashion hotspot ASOS and the Daily Star reports that Sian recently teamed up with supermarket chain Asda to collaborate on a new line of clothing.
2019 – Carina Lepore
And the last person to receive Lord Sugar’s six-figure investment was Carina Lepore in 2019 who wanted money to expand her artisan bakery, Dough Bake House.
Since her win the businesswoman has since opened another two bakeries with Lord Sugar still reportedly still a business partner.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.