Tuesday, 7 May 2013

It's here....The Apprentice Series 9 preview

And so it begins.

No I’m not talking about summer, we all know that big yellow ball in the sky won’t be here forever.  I’m talking the return for Series 9 of The Apprentice.

Following rapidly on from the “Stella English” court case there hasn’t been a better indication of the significant and, I think it’s fair to say, necessary change from the winner receiving a job to receiving a significant investment from Lord Sugar that we saw two series ago.

The award of a job within the wide spread of Lord Sugar’s business empire always seemed to jar with the nature and style of the programme and selection process.  As mad professor Tom and wrestler Ricky “La Vida Loca” Martin have both shown, the guiding hand of an entrepreneurial master like Sugar can prove invaluable, as long as the fundamental business plan is sound.

Tom’s flourishing empire is a fabulous example of a great business where the owner has lost their way (in Tom’s case getting caught up in his passion of inventing) getting the experience and guidance from a mentor and partner.  It should also be said that Tom would probably be the first to admit that the rather public time he spent understanding his own strengths and weaknesses will also have had a major bearing on his new found success.  Ricky too going from a situation where he has never started a business before, but held a number of key entrepreneurial attributes, has seen the rapid growth of his new venture benefit hugely from the experience a savvy entrepreneur and mentor can bring.  Sure the huge investment helped, but having that guidance is equally key.
It may be a great lesson for anyone frustrated by the lack of bank lending to look to alternative sources for funding and guidance.

So to this year’s batch of business wannabes and what another eclectic mix the producers have selected this time (let’s get it straight this is primarily a TV entertainment show).  From a professional dancer, Monaco-based marketing man to shop owners and even a doctor the mix is wide and varied.

For the very best introduction, check out the Meet the Candidates song courtesy of The Brett Domino Trio here – stunningly brilliant.

So what can we expect...more of the same I would suggest.  Ego’s, mis-calculations and unknown objects and everthing in between.  Already 22 year old Alex Mills’ claims to have strengths in design and calculations could come back to bit him.  Still it’s going to be fun!

Incidentally, a number of the candidates this year have retail experience, particularly in/with food-based companies which may indicate a little of Lord Sugars business preferences this year.

Follow me @simonbrooke for more thoughts on The Apprentice and my follow up on the first episode.

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