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The Apprentice Final – A View From The Cheese Shop

Well. This is it.
We started out with 16 people who all reckoned they were amazing business people. It was made abundantly clear in the last 12 weeks, that they weren’t.
As viewers though, we learned that, in business, having the “ little book of managerial speak” is a fundamental part of being a candidate. Also, the ability to toot one’s own horn is a must.

In this, the final episode, we were left with just 4 candidates, Ricky Martin, Jade Nash and her voice, Nick Holzherr & Tom Gearing.
I’m not going to go through each interview for two reasons; 1. you more than likely watched them and I couldn’t make them look any worse than they already were, and 2. it’d take too bloody long, and it’d also mean me having to watch the show again because I was a bit poorly when it was on the telly.

But as for the business plans… let’s start with Nick’s.

Imagine you watched the latest episode of Masterchef, and they made a pie. You, like all of us, want to make that pie. But buying the ingredients is a task in itself. Sainsburys’ is handy because it’s down the road, but Tesco are matching their prices with an additional 10% off selected goods. Asda is doing a ‘Cheaper than Tesco’s’ offer at the moment and Morrisons are having a ‘50% of products cheaper than Asda, unless they’ve matched Tescos’ offer’ and Waitrose is just expensive. In the end up, you just nip to the Spar.
Well Nick devised a clever thing. You put all the ingredients required for the recipe into a website, press a little button, and it collates all the things you need and tells you the cheapest supermarket to get it from. Handy for Anthony Worrall Thompson, I reckon.

Tom’s plan was a wine thing. Basically, you could invest your money into a barrel of plonk in the hope that it’ll get really expensive, and people who didn’t invest in it would buy some, and you would then get some money. The wall street of wine.

Ricky had an idea for a niche recruitment agency. An ethical agency in the scientific sector… In essence… a recruitment agency.

And then there was Jade….
Milk nearly came out of my nose when I heard her business idea, which was odd due to the fact I hadn’t actually been drinking milk. However for Jade’s to be even considered a viable business idea was nothing short of incredible. She wanted to open an outbound call centre, filled with telesales staff ringing people up about debts, loans, insurance and so on. It was almost like writing up a business plan to release 3 bluebottles into each house in the nation every day, and ensuring that they stay behind the venetian blinds, right in the corner of the window where the magazine you’re trying to swipe them with doesn’t quite reach. Think about it. Could you imagine Jade phoning you up and asking about PPI? I’d rather have a bluebottle.

Clearly, the best idea to come out of this was Nick’s. So it was only natural that Lord Sugar shouldn’t go with it . ‘I dan’t blaady undastaaind the blaady point of tha blaady fing’, he (probably) said.

No. In the end, Ricky Martin and his recruitment agency was deemed to be the winner. Sir Alan thought it was ‘blaady’ good enough to invest his £250,000 into. So well done Ricky.

So that’s the end of the series for another year. The Apprentice 2012 is complete and no doubt we’ll now see a string of ethical recruitment agencies spring up throughout the UK over the coming year.
I’m off to watch a group of people with Apprentice-equivalent business skills live in a big house, and have Brian Dowling telling me it’s fabulous every week. ( I’m not really….)

J

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