ALAN Sugar will do his last firing of the series tonight as he hires his latest Apprentice.
The 14th series of BBC1’s hit reality show has seen the 16 hopefuls whittled down to the final two. They began by trying to buy items as cheaply as possible in Malta and were involved in an art sale task in Glasgow.
Now either 25-year-old Sian Gabbidon from Leeds, or 22-year-old Camilla Ainsworth from Lancashire will win Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.
Here, businessman Mike Soutar, who started his stellar career in magazines in Dundee writing horoscopes for DC Thomson and has become one of Lord Sugar’s trusted TV interrogators, gives his verdict on the two finalists getting ready to be hired…or fired.
Mike on Camilla Ainsworth:
An expansion of her dairy-free nut milk brand.
She has honed in on a very-fast growing marketplace. Alternative milk products are growing exponentially because of the growth in dairy allergies. At present there is a major supermarket brand and then niche brands which sell in smaller, trendy areas. She wants to launch between those two areas with a major grab-and-go brand you’d pick up in the same way you’d pick up a can of fizzy drink. She knows her market and it’s the right one to choose. She is a charismatic, bubbly representative for the brand who fits the profile of the target consumer.
It’s a long haul to create a brand of sufficient scale to be stocked in major supermarkets. The necessary upfront investment would use all of the £250,000 and is therefore a higher-risk proposition.
Mike on Sian Gabbidon:
Her business plan is to expand her existing fashion swimwear range, targeting 20-something pool party Love Island wannabes.
It’s a genuine marketplace and there are no leading brands so she has an opportunity to create a more high-profile brand than others. She is a really smart cookie who taught herself to code and create her own website, which shows the kind of talent she possesses. Although she doesn’t sell many of her current products, that’s more a case of her lack of profile. She will get that from being in the final and if Alan chooses her as his business partner, it will catapult her profile sky high.
It’s a competitive market and high street stores will undercut her. Her price point of £50 is probably too high and she will have to reach volumes to let her cut her prices to between £20 and £35.