Telling the truth about SME life today

The Apprentice: Meet the candidates

ALEX EPSTEIN, 26, unemployed head of communications

Epstein claims he came up with the idea for the bendy-bus when he was a child. He was awarded ten A*s at GCSE but was sacked from his first job making ice-cream at Haagen Dazs. Epstein later found his forte in corporate communications only to fall victim to the recession before he applied for The Apprentice. He once sang the American National Anthem with his fellow school pupils to President Bush Snr at a charity dinner. Describes himself as “unconventional”.

CHRIS BATES, 24, investment banker

Bates is an avid rugby player and scuba diver. He graduated with first class honours from Nottingham University and went on to work for investment bank JP Morgan. He considers his intelligence to be his biggest strength and his ambition is “to find a cure for worldwide illnesses”. Gordon Ramsay is his inspiration.

CHRISTOPHER FARRELL, 28, mortgage broker

Ex-Royal Marine Farrell served his country for ten years in areas of conflict including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Afghanistan: “I was a sniper in the Royal Marines and I take that killer instinct across into business.” Now working as a mortgage broker, he claims he shows no emotion, likes to be pushed, and is not afraid to give people a “kick up the backside” if they don’t pull their weight.

Update 30/09/10: According to reports in today’s Guardian, Farrell is currently on bail for alleged fraud and has a weapons conviction for possessing an extendable baton and a knuckleduster. We wonder what the other contestants are going to make of this…

DAN HARRIS, 34, sales director

Harris played a German soldier as an extra in Steven Spielberg’s hit movie Saving Private Ryan. His first business idea came as a university student where he launched a nightclub promotions company and he later worked as a recruitment consultant before moving into IT. He once held the world record for the fastest ascent and descent of Mount Kenya. Fears: businesswomen: “I don’t quite know how to handle them – I’ve had two clients who have been very powerful women, and they’ve made me sweat.”

JAMIE LESTER, 28, overseas property developer

Lester owned two properties by the age of 23 and started his own company at 24, turning over £1,000,000 in two-and-a-half years. He describes himself as “honest and trustworthy” and “very motivated and entrepreneurial”. He’s prepared to get his hands dirty. Quote: “You’ve gotta break eggs to make an omelette. It’s as simple as that.”

RALEIGH ADDINGTON, 22, unemployed graduate

Often compared to Boris Johnson. Addington recently graduated from Exeter University with a degree in economics and politics, then spent his gap year living in Shanghai, China. While at university he proved he had the gift of the gab when he elicited a donation of £1,000,000 when working in the university’s fundraising department. He says his inspiration is John Cadbury and claims to be “ruthless – even in Monopoly.”

SHIBBY ROBATI, 27, qualified surgeon and business owner

The comedian of the pack (claims to be a good impressionist). Born in Leeds, Robati got his first job working as a paper boy at the age of 17 and went on to become a fully qualified surgeon. “On my tombstone it will say Dr Shibby Robati; you can’t take away those two letters, so I’m happy with that,” he says. He left medicine for business development in London. He has successfully made £150,000 turnover and over £90,000 profit in the first year of setting up two businesses.

STUART BAGGS, 21, telecoms entrepreneur

Baggs is The Apprentice‘s youngest ever candidate. He started selling yo-yos in the school playground and he later went on to launch his own telecommunications company at the age of 18. Born in Plymouth and now living in the Isle of Man, Baggs is an adrenalin junkie with hobbies including abseiling, powerboat racing and rock-climbing. He is also a lover of fast cars and technology. Quote: “I’m alive; that’s a gift, frankly.”

JOANNA RILEY, 25, cleaning company owner

Riley is a mother of twin boys. She began her working life as a hotel waitress and set up her own successful cleaning business at the age of 22. Having worked in telecommunications at a call centre where she called every Leicester-based business in the Yellow Pages, she decided to become her own boss.

JOY STEFANICKI, 31, marketing and PR director

Stefanicki says she is intimidated by attractive women who “just have magical power by the way they look and walk”, but reckons she can outwit them. She started her working life cleaning dishes in her parents’ pub before joining a supermarket at the age of 16. She worked in New York but was forced to return to the UK after falling victim to the recession in 2008. Inspiration: Pretty Woman.

LAURA MOORE, 22, business development manager

Moore is a trained violinist and keen astronomer. She dreamed of being a pilot before finding her niche and proudly claims she single-handedly brought in over £500,000 of sales in her first year as a management consultant. Describes herself as “ballsy” and “a man in a woman’s body”.

LIZ LOCKE, 24, investment banker

This former investment banker has branched out into property development and project management. The self-confessed health fanatic visits the gym three times a week and enjoys badminton, tennis and running. Locke says she’s “ambitious” and “energetic”: “I really like to get my teeth stuck into something. I’m hungry.”

MELISSA COHEN, 24, food business manager

Cohen was a hairdresser before deciding she wanted her cut of the food business management market. She claims to have single-handedly increased Tesco’s share of the Kosher food market to 75 per cent. The aggressive go-getter claims she could sell ice to the Eskimos “all day long”. She describes herself as “analytical, effervescent and intelligent” but warns: “If you get in my way, I’ll mow you down.” Nickname: “The Bulldozer”.

PALOMA VIVANCO, 29, senior marketing manager

Born and raised in Peru, Vivancohas lived in North America, Australia, New Zealand and currently in London. She started working life frying doughnuts in Donut King before launching her first company at the age of 21, straight out of university. The self-professed “no-nonsense” candidate eventually moved into the telecommunications industry and since then she has continued to cultivate her passion for business development.

SANDEESH SAMRA, 26, recruitment consultant

Samra admires the Topshop brand and its ability to remain on trend. She would love to have been the brain behind digital giants Facebook and Google. As a recruitment consultant, she claims to have broken the company revenue record.

STELLA ENGLISH, 30, head of business management

English is a mother-of-two and the only woman in her department. She left school with no qualifications, but has managed to forge a flourishing business career as the only female in the management on the trading floor of a Japanese investment bank. Inspiration: Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.


Related Stories

More From

Most Read


If you enjoyed this article,
why not join our newsletter?

We promise only quality content, tailored to suit what our readers like to see!