Tuesday 10 Dec 2013
For the past five weeks, 10 young candidates from across the UK have faced an education like no other as they embarked on a series of tough tasks that pushed their business skills to the limit, in BBC One's Junior Apprentice. The tasks were challenging, demanding and tough – and there could only ever be one winner.
Seventeen-year-old A-Level student Arjun Rajyagor beat off stiff competition from nine other talented teens to land the title Junior Apprentice and access to a £25,000 fund, which will go towards kick-starting his business career. He becomes the first ever Junior Apprentice and will now continue to concentrate on his education before developing his future career.
In last night's final task, Arjun and fellow A-Level student Tim Ankers worked together on Team Instinct opposite the final two girls, Zoe Plummer and Kirsty Cleaver, who led Team Revolution.
The teams were tasked with creating their own brand of bottled water. They had to come up with a name, develop the product identity and film a TV advert complete with jingle before presenting their prototype to leading industry experts – and Lord Alan Sugar.
Tim and Arjun and their team – consisting of Emma Walker, Rhys Rosser and Adam Eliaz – developed a simple product and a straightforward brand identity in place with "A Bottle of Water". Their confident pitch was made even stronger with their assured response to questions from the floor, impressing the experts and Lord Sugar.
Meanwhile, Zoe and Kirsty's team – consisting of Jordan De Courcy, Hannah Cherry and Hibah Ansary – developed a brand aimed at the youth market with a stylish design, but a mixed consumer message. The experts were impressed with their presentation, but concerned that suggesting their water could be of benefit to people's health was unjustified.
In the nail-biting final boardroom scene, Lord Sugar expressed just how blown away with their efforts he was as he told them: "The presentations that both teams put on were absolutely incredible. You are an inspiration."
Lord Sugar told Zoe and Kirsty that he thought their TV advert "looked like a mugging on a council estate," and Zoe responded by saying: "What's already out there are numerous, countless bottles of simple water. We wanted to go for something bold, something fresh and something that targets a market that hasn't already been targeted."
He told Tim and Arjun: "The bottle of water was very simple, very defined and quite clearly I understood the concept. The marketing idea didn't quite come off that well, the pitch wasn't that great but the professionals were very, very, very impressed." Arjun and Tim were keen to show Lord Sugar that they worked well as a team, with Arjun saying: "[Tim] sourced the ideas and I brought them to life – we worked well together."
After some careful deliberation, Lord Sugar told the girls: "Ladies, your business model was flawed in the target market that you chose. On balance, I'm sorry to say that your team has lost. It's a hard loss because I can't stop going on about how impressed I've been with both of you throughout the whole of the contest. I know you're going to be successful and I want you to go on and do what you're good at doing."
He went on to tell Kirsty: "You want to be a little more upfront and not so much of a busy bee behind the scenes," and said to Zoe: "You've got it all, you just need to get that character right."
The boys won the task, but Lord Sugar was left with a tough decision. After consulting Nick and Karren, he made his final verdict as he told them:
"Arjun, I've spoken of your apparent soft nature, your clear academic qualifications. My concerns about you adapting and trying to show that you can actually come up with that seed and spark of an idea that is needed in business.
"Tim, you started off, we were a bit concerned about you, to be honest with you. There were times when I was really tossing up in my mind if you should be on your way home.
"It's a tough choice. And I'm not going to worry about the runner-up, because I know that the runner-up is going to succeed anyway."
For decades a supporter of young people in business, Lord Sugar decided to give 10 of the UK's most ambitious and driven teenagers the opportunity of a lifetime, and he wasn't disappointed.
Over 28,000 applied, only 10 made the cut. Lord Sugar's search for his first Junior Apprentice has come to an end.
After the final, Arjun said: "It's been an amazing opportunity and I can't believe I'm the first Junior Apprentice. It's absolutely mind-blowing and it hasn't even set in yet. Tim was the greatest opponent anybody could have ever wanted. My parents are so ecstatic and I hope I've done them proud. To think of the amount of opportunities this will open up for me is just amazing."
Lord Sugar said: "Arjun has that natural business flair combined with intelligence that some people are born with – you can't learn it. I know that Arjun is going to become the best at whatever he wants to do and I will be here for support all the way. I was so impressed with all of the candidates – they were outstanding for their age – but there had to be just one winner, and Arjun has done himself and his family proud."
On runner-up, Tim, Lord Sugar said: "It was a very tough choice – Tim is a very bright lad whose family and friends should take great pride in seeing how well he did in such a tough contest. I know that he is going to succeed in whatever he chooses to do. Any time he wants to call me for any advice he's genuinely more than welcome to, 24/7."
Tim said: "It is always hard coming so close to first after such a long process, but to have been placed below such a capable candidate as Arjun makes it a lot easier. I wish him all the best for the future and intend to stay close friends with him.
"For me, now, concentrating on my A-Levels is paramount and I could also do with a good offer of employment! It was such an enjoyable experience - one which I will never forget."
Kirsty said: "It is disappointing. I got so close but, at the end of the day, I've learnt so much from this experience and I'm leaving this with my head held high. It's just amazing to think how far I have come."
Zoe said: "I came here to prove my business mind, my business acumen, my intuition and skills and that is what I did. I may have fallen slightly short of the last hurdle here but that doesn't mean that it's the end of me. I'm going to keep on working and be a success in business."
Arjun is in the process of completing his A-Levels whilst continuing to run his computer repair business from home. He has received a conditional offer to study engineering science at Oxford University and hopes to one day become his own boss of an electrical engineering company.
Education: A-Levels in physics, maths and systems & control, AS-Level further maths
Self-confessed maths fanatic Arjun loves computers – he built his own aged 12 and now runs a repair business from his bedroom.
He says: "Always look at the end goal and find a way to get there. Do what has to be done and never allow yourself to look back in regret."
The first series of Junior Apprentice aired on BBC One from Wednesday 12 May to Thursday 10 June.
Karren Brady joined Nick Hewer as one of Lord Sugar's aides, replacing Margaret Mountford.
The 10 candidates battled it out over six tasks to compete for a £25,000 prize to help fund a future business venture.
Bafta award-winning business series The Apprentice has five previously successful series, with series six due to air later this year.
Since first airing in 2005, The Apprentice regularly draws in over eight million viewers and last year over 10 million viewers tuned in to see Yasmina Siadatan become Sir Alan Sugar's fifth apprentice.
As well as a wealth of loyal fans, The Apprentice has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards including two Baftas and a National Television Award.
It's the toughest job interview going that many find daunting, proved in series five when, for the first time ever, The Apprentice saw candidate Adam Freeman pull out before the first task had even started.
Other highlights of previous series include Lorraine Tighe's "premonitions", the romance between Kate Walsh and Philip "Pantsman" Taylor, brash defences of Claire Young and boardroom bluffing of Jenny Celerier. The business theatrics of Michael Sophocles and his kosher meat gaffe has made him one of the standout characters of all five series, while the floundering failures of school teacher Noorul Choudhury, who had the nation screaming at the TV as he escaped the firing line on many occasions, sandwich seller Rocky Andrews failing in the catering task, Lee McQueen's pterodactyl impression and not forgetting Raef Bajyou's ability to "speak to prince or pauper" have all had the nation cowering behind their CVs for the past five years.
The Apprentice has spawned a number of columns and blogs in the national press and has been spoofed by comedians including French & Saunders, Harry Hill and Dead Ringers. In 2007, the BBC Two show Kombat Opera spoofed The Apprentice with Kombat Opera Presents ... The Applicants.
Last year, renowned YouTube artist Cassette Boy created Cassette Boy vs The Apprentice, which has attracted over 1.7 million hits to date on YouTube alone.
Last year's stellar line-up for Comic Relief Does The Apprentice included Jonathan Ross, Patsy Palmer, Carol Vorderman, Ruby Wax and Gok Wan. After the boys lost the toy design task, Sunday Night Project funny man Alan Carr was the unlucky candidate on the receiving end of the dreaded words "You're Fired!".
In 2007, the first celebrity special of The Apprentice aired as part of the Comic Relief night on BBC One. Comic Relief Does The Apprentice featured a wealth of high profile celebrities including the likes of Cheryl Cole, Ross Kemp and Piers Morgan, as they battled out to raise money and avoid the ultimate dent in their egos – being fired by Lord Sugar.
In 2008, another celebrity special aired as part of Sport Relief on BBC One – Sport Relief does The Apprentice.
Lord Alan Sugar
After leaving school in Hackney aged 16, Lord Sugar started selling car aerials and electric goods out of a van he bought for £50. In 1968, he founded Amstrad and now, over 40 years later, has an estimated worth of £730 million, and was ranked 85th in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.
A former Chairman of Tottenham Hotspur FC, Sugar sold his Amstrad empire to Sky in July 2007. Sugar's other companies include AMSCREEN, which offers digital screen media advertising networks; AMSAIR, which offers business and executive jets to a number of high profile clients around the world; AMSPROP, a property investment firm; and VIGLEN, a manufacturer specialising in computers, networks and solutions.
In 2000, Sugar was knighted for his services to business and he holds two honorary Doctorates of Science degrees, awarded by City University and Brunel University respectively.
Having previously sat on the Business Council for Britain and fronted a campaign promoting the benefits of apprenticeships, in 2009 he was named as Enterprise Champion and appointed to the House of Lords as Baron Sugar of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney.
Lord Sugar is a philanthropist who donates to a number of charities including Great Ormond Street Hospital and Jewish Care.
Former PR impresario Nick Hewer started off in public relations in the mid Sixties. Heading up his own PR company until its sale in 1997, Nick built an impressive corporate client list which, over more than 30 years, included many British and international companies and organisations, including the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan, based in Chantilly, France and the wife of the ruler of Dubai, the late H H Sheikh Maktoum.
Nick first came across Lord Sugar when his PR company was chosen to represent Amstrad in 1983. Soon taking care of his profile across all business and personal dealings, Nick became a trusted ally and firm friend to the tycoon, playing an integral part in the management structure at Amstrad.
Friends throughout both careers, Lord Sugar laid on a dinner at The Dorchester for Nick and 100 guests to celebrate his official retirement. Says Nick: "Alan is a very generous friend. The best thing about working for him was there was always something going on – he has a vibrancy about him."
Nick's career has taken him all over the world – in his retirement he still pursues his lifelong passion of world travel. Not long ago he drove a 20 year-old Renault 4L solo from London to Mongolia for charity and last summer took part in the Children in Need trek from Istanbul to Almaty in Kazakhstan. As a patron of Hope and Homes for Children, Nick helps promote this British charity. He has worked for them in Romania, Rwanda and will visit Sierra Leone this summer. He has a home in France where he indulges his other passion, for old tractors.
Karren Brady began her career at LBC when she was 18 years old and swiftly moved onto Saatchi & Saatchi as junior Account Handler. She joined Sports Newspapers Ltd in 1988 and became Director within a year.
Karren is now known as the first woman of football. She was Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club from 1993 to 2009 and during that time turned the Club's fortunes around. She took over Birmingham City FC when it was in administration, and in her first year at the helm, the Club recorded a financial trading profit. In January 2010, Karren was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham United FC.
Karren has attracted much media attention in her position, and was the subject of an hour long documentary, Inside Story - The Real Life Manageress, shown on BBC Karren has written four books; a factual account of her first season at Birmingham City, Brady Plays The Blues, two novels, United and Trophy Wives and her latest book, Playing To Win is about successful women in business.
Karren is a columnist for The Sun newspaper; the UK's biggest-selling national daily newspaper. She is a judge of the Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards and the Sports Industry Awards. She is on the business board of Scope, and the Ambassador for Birmingham Women's Aid. She is a non-executive director of Arcadia, Channel 4 Television and Sport England. She is an honoree Fellow of the Institute of Sales and Marketing.
In March 2006, Karren was chosen as the project manager of the girls team on BBC One's The Apprentice Does Comic Relief, where she lead her team to a resounding victory over the boys, raising over £750k for charity.
Now, following appearances as one of Lord Sugar's interrogators, Karren has replaced Margaret Mountford as Lord Sugar's right-hand woman in Junior Apprentice and the forthcoming series six of The Apprentice.
The Apprentice Awards
2009: Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best Reality Event
2009: Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best in Show
2009: Broadcasting Press Guild – Best Factual Entertainment Programme
2009: Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival - Terrestrial Programme of the Year
2009: TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
2009: Broadcast Award – Best Entertainment Programme
2008: Media Guardian Edinburgh International TV Festival – Terrestrial Programme of the Year
2008: TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
2007: RTS Award – Features & Factual Entertainment
2007: Broadcast Award – Best Entertainment Programme
2006: Bafta – Features
2006: Bafta Pioneer Award – Pioneer Award (voted for by the public)
2006: National Television Award – Most Popular Reality Programme
2006: Rose D'or – Reality Show
2006: Televisual Bulldog Awards – Best Factual Reality Show
2006: TV Quick/TV Choice Awards – Best Reality
2006: The Guild of TV Cameraman Awards – Camera Team Excellence in Photography
2006: Banff – Unscripted Entertainment Programme
2006: Wincott Business Awards – Best TV Show of the Year
2005: National Television Award – Most Popular Reality Show
2005: RTS Craft & Design Award – Tape & Film Editing
2005: RTS Craft & Design Award – Tape & Film Editing, Entertainment & Situation Comedy
2005: Grierson Awards – Most Entertaining Documentary.