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The Final: Emergency Chairs and One Trick Ponies...

Ben Rawson-Jones, Blog Editor | 21:59 UK time, Sunday, 17 July 2011

It's time to erase the Nodding Hindsight Man and Mr Notepad-Calculator from your memories, as Tom has a more suitable moniker to adopt – Apprentice Winner 2011! In the throes of a gruelling interview process and tense boardroom, the inventor soared like one of his mooted flying pies to claim victory ahead of Helen. 

Tom celebrates his victory on The Apprentice.


Lord Sugar stated that Tom's product to reduce back pain needed many tweaks. Only time will tell if this will culminate in the advent of an Emergency Chairscuit – a self-assembly reclining device that is also edible. Key business decisions are unlikely to be decided by Paper Scissors Stone though. As Tom demonstrated in The Final, his sheer affability, passion and creative spark will bring a great deal to the table.

Damn! Runner-up Helen's punchline to the fishy joke she told interviewer Matthew Riley was a portent for what she must have felt when the result was announced. Despite her record-breaking string of nine task victories and a brave move to deploy a second business pitch, her initial Reminder Service idea went down as well as Gavin's quest to find a Top Hat in a dry cleaners.

Skincare Susan's mistake with the word "turnover" gave Claude Littner enough scent to movie in for the kill. Surely everyone knows that a turnover is one of the pastries that Helen could have been selling in her proposed bakery? Susan later boardroom admission of "I understand that I didn't understand" failed to prevent her being fired, but her remarkable achievements in setting up her own business at such a young age were heralded.

The welcome return of Margaret Mountford caused one "champion thoroughbred" to fall at the last fence. She did exactly what it said on the tin… if that tin happened to say: "I will scythe through Jedi Jim's clichés like a hot lightsaber through butter". An unfortunate equine analogy harked back to Herr Baggs' proclamations last series, but Jim proved he was not a one trick pony. His AMSmart idea may have been rebranded AMStupid given the business context, but the altruistic idea showcased a compassionate side that was previously hidden beneath his ruthless boardroom demeanour.

So, with a cry of "YES!" that was loud enough to wake up 'Snoozan' in her nearby cab, Tom left the building as Lord Sugar's new business partner. A bright future lies ahead for the pair and one wonders what wacky inventions lie ahead…

Let us know your thoughts on Tom's victory, Helen's bold boardroom move and The Final in general by clicking on the Comments button above…



  • Comment number 1.

    A tense final where the work of Lord Sugar's magnificent evaluation team played a huge role in the decision making process and that is absolutely required. As the show progressed, there was a sense of failure for the Jim and Helen cause; and so it looked as if my choice Susan Ma, might just win; especially with Tom's fragile "business chairs with less stress" idea looking rather misplaced.

    If you evaluate £4 million first year sales as was the case on Susan Ma's challenged business plan; there is clearly doubt of her ability to grasp business reality. However, if she could have just used objection rejection and used positive sentences like "we could licence to super companies like L'Oreal and get royalties"....or...."we have audiences of 8 million at The Apprentice and if only 5% of the audience spent £10 in a whole year or 2.5% spent £20 in a whole year, I'd hit £4 million in sales"....or...."I have sales already,look at my skin, your brand "The Apprentice", we are partners, we can sell it to all the major retailers including stores like Selfridges to stock"...I really think she would have won. I restate, I think she is very impressive and if she could have just handled the objections better, she was clearly this year's The Apprentice. I believe her numbers had real thought on the strength of The Apprentice brand.

    Tom is a qualified inventor but this show is not about picking inventors. This show is about a quality business partner and a "star" from Boston Matrix evaluations. Whether Tom does Lord Sugar proud of his decision, only time will tell. The early indications are that the huge and exceptional experience and expertise of Lord Sugar and his team is already prevailing; with a world class Nail File that might just be a million dollar earner; and the huge and classy Walmart as one known buyer. That's Lord Sugar the entrepreneur making Tom a winner. I like Tom for all his real innocence but it's Lord Sugar that's the best and most brilliant aspect of his life now as far as business is concerned and with the "chair" idea firmly on the bench.

    The great point made in the latter half of this show was how Susan Ma was still a possibility by Lord Sugar for a joint venture with Tom......and that would be just great....the Tom and Susan range of The Apprentice beauty products....I think he's onto something but he'll have to be quick.

    Finally, thank you Lord Sugar, his Team, the BBC and all the Candidates for a great series this year and well done Tom.

    Best Wishes,


  • Comment number 2.

    Should have been Susan, for all she's achieved in her short life against the odds. Or Helen for her ruthless efficiency and relentless work ethic.

    Jim's entertaining, but ultimately just a very charming salesman with the 'gift of the gab'.
    Finally, Tom is of course a 'nice' guy and incredibly courteous as well as having a scatterbrain mind which does facilitate his inventions.

    However, it does NOT make him a business person in any shape or form and during the tasks his lack of foresight means Sugar will spend a lot of time holding his hand, rather than would be the case with Helen or Susan IMHO...

  • Comment number 3.

    With Tom only winning three tasks, and Helen winning 10, one has to question the value of the tasks. Lord Sugar was looking for a business partner rather than an employee, yet the tasks were all in the same format as previous series. Only in the final week, were the candidates allowed to show their true entrepreneurial spirit. In previous weeks, a certain amount of creative thinking was required, but within a confined scope.

    Had the tasks been framed differently to flesh out the true entrepreneurs, then the likes of Leon, Gavin, Felicity and Melody may have stayed in the running a lot longer, and Jim would have been sent packing in episode 2.

  • Comment number 4.

    What a brilliant series. I'm pleased Tom won. Jim was the perfect salesperson but can't calculate under pressure and seemed to lack substance, Susan Ma has run a business but seems to be over ambitious with the number of sales she will make - her business plan and Zoe can vouch for that. Helen is a fantastic organiser and at bringing projects to a conclusion. Why didn't Lord Sugar take a risk and use all four for his new partnership? Use Tom's ideas, incorporate Susan Ma's skincare products, get Helen to run the business and Jim to sell them. Now that would be entrepreneurial!

  • Comment number 5.

    So disappointed with Helens business plan one of the nicest and most intelligent ladies they have ever had on the programme she had a real class about her. I really thought she was going to win it. But Tom was a worthy winner and Lord Sugar will do well with him he was a clever lad just need some business tuning to reach his potential. Susan clever girl but can she sulk and moan better than anyone but she will do well in life.

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally agree with Adrian re Helen. She turned up one series too late. Had she been on any of the earlier series, she would have breezed it. Only Stella English (series six) would have given her a good run for her money. The winners of series 1 to 5 can consider themselves very lucky that Helen wasn't pitched in among them.

  • Comment number 7.

    This series was brilliant. The whole business idea/entrepreneur angle truly revealed who had real substance and who did not. The second that Helen described her business idea - she lost this. Lord Sugar - or 'Sugar' as he is now affectionately called (according to Jim) - wasn't the only one to be bitterly disappointed. For a minute there, I honestly thought he was going to take them both on. As a team they could be brilliant. As much as I really liked and admired her throughout this process, they were right. She's a top level employee - but not what was being sought in this particular series. She could successfully, tactically, deliver to Lord Sugars strategic thinking and Toms ideas but not the other way round. I admired her last ditch attempt though, and how she kept her cool. I suspect her phone will be ringing off the hook with offers now! Good for her. For me, Jim was never really in the running as a winner. But his idea was a real twist to this blaggers tale, I totally did not see that coming. A heart? In a salesman? Rare indeed. The proposal was just one huge 'suck up' though. I loved the 'seduction' description from Nick. As for Susan. She drove me up the wall, frankly! Her idea was typical of her tendency to focus on the wrong thing and stick to it come what may. Driving through a great idea is one thing, but awareness is key to preventing major business disasters. Self awareness as well as business awareness. You cant run a business on the odd flash of inspiration and luck. I am not convinced by the 'only 21' thing either. She may grow older but she may not grow up! Theres every chance she will spend years chasing her personal rainbows. I dont think her future success is assured by any means. For me, the jury is still out on Susan. So Tom was the only one in that final that had anything like a viable product or business idea. Maybe Lord Sugar will review his opinion of the chair when more research into the problem is put on his desk. That said, I suspect those brilliant nail files will soon be in every handbag and bathroom. What a great and beautifully simple idea. He was the only true entrepreneur of the whole bunch. Thats why his constant 'failed' tasks didnt land him in the fired pile. I really hope that next year will be along similar lines. Let see more Toms come out the woodwork. What a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Wednesday evening this was.

  • Comment number 8.

    Excellent television, as ever. However, the selection process was designed to inform a recruitment decision, not a potential business partnership, and seems to me no longer fit for purpose. The finalists' business plans - crucial to the decision, but never featured in earlier episodes - were pitiful in content and presentation. Lord Sugar himself expressed disappointment at their lack of substance and quality. And who knows what potential gems may have been lost en route?

    If The Apprentice is to succeed in its new guise as a Dragons' Den offshoot, I think it will need to provide more opportunity for candidates to demonstrate individual business acumen, rather than encourage the (admittedly, more watchable) inter-personal battles.

  • Comment number 9.

    I'm pleased it's Tom, but I wonder whom Lord Sugar would have fired if Tom and Helen had lost the Fast Food task instead of the other team.

  • Comment number 10.

    That's the LAST time I will be watching the Apprentice. The selection process at the end is not based on skill at all and is clearly designed to filter the person Sugar wants. All the tasks leading up to that moment are irrelevant, as shown by Helen being fired in spite of her incredible wins time after time, and the winner being hired in spite of so many blunders. Why not just have one programme entitled 'The selection'? Viewers are being shafted if they think that this is based on skill. Of course, it's Lord Sugar's job and money so he has a right to choose who he wants. It's just debatable as to whether it is right to get people's hopes up and use them as pawns in a game. It seems that no matter how well a candidate does throughout the programme, it's the final interview that matters, which has no bearing on the rest of the series at all. I can't imagine that Lord Sugar honestly believes that a good interviewee is better than a hard worker and all rounder, as Helen proved herself to be. So, it is just staged to glean viewers and use hopefuls, as was Big Brother. If this is the case, let's hope it's replaced with something which doesn't prey on people's hopes and dreams and, when they work incredibly hard, simply discard them at the end in favour of someone who was CLEARLY Sugar's chosen candidate all along.

  • Comment number 11.

    maybe my original post was a bit too close to the truth - I'll paraphrase...good luck to the winner...they'll need it to get anything like the benefit Alan Sugar gets out of this

  • Comment number 12.

    I must say I am truly disappointed about the outcome to this Apprentice series. I also agree with two other previous comments, saying that if there was a 'business partner' instead of an 'employee' to be chosen, why did the tasks mirror the same format as in previous series?! Respectively, it does appear that Lord Sugar has had a chosen candidate all along, discarding one by one those who proved to be hard working and truly passionate, rather than a 'nice guy'/'kiss ass' who smiled and nodded his way to the final. Tom was proving weak all along the tasks, and was given numerous second chances, whereas Helen, who in my opinion should've deserved the win, was let go because of a not so impressing business plan. Where was her second chance? Lord Sugar dismissed her for the lack of experience in having run her own personal business. What sort of message does that send out to all those people who would want to start their own business one day? To not do it because clearly you'd fail from lack of experience? It's rather demotivating!

  • Comment number 13.

    I think that the new Sugar/ Tom partnership should seriously consider employing Helen to run the business as their first move. They worked so well together. With Tom's wackiness/ invetiveness coupled with Helens organisational skills, throw in Lord Sugars ££, business acumen and contacts..... that would be a winning team!

  • Comment number 14.

    I have always been an admirer of Lord Sugar because he seems to be down to earth and yet up to speed on most things. Probably that’s why he is so successful; however, in my opinion he should re-think his attitude regarding Tom Pellereau's SMART-CHAIR. I was flabbergasted when Lord Sugar said words to the effect that nobody in their right minds would pay anyone to test personnel regarding their sitting posture etc etc. think again Lord Sugar (if you or Tom read this blog) The last three or four companies (mostly Oil and Gas big companies) that I have worked for/with (multinationals with turnovers in the multi-millions) regularly perform ergonomic tests (and retests) on staff sitting, standing and general posture positions at work stations to avoid RSI, Back Pain, eye strain etc. I am sure a significant amount of companies would welcome Tom's SMART CHAIR.

  • Comment number 15.

    I myself run a niche business that has done ok and I applaud Alan Sugar for this decision. The fact its the nicest and most charming person on the show as well was a bonus. To make a lot of money is always more likley with a "product " (this can be patented and not easily copied etc) service industries are much easier to copy and you rarely have a unique product. Thats why I believe he has gone for a "product" guy. Someone with this brain and intellect is likely to come up with a great many ideas of which one (like his nail file and it only takes one) will do welll and make Sugar money. Thats what he is in it for. helen is a fantastic administrator and good salesperson and her idea was perfectly suited to herself as a business, but as a lifestyle business that she runs, (and I know about this myself as I run such a business) not one likley to make Sugar hard cash. I think helen is fantastic looking after others ideas (put them together I say) but she doesnt come across to me as an ideas person from scratch --indeed both her ideas were lame as a business proposition for Sugar (indeed I think they were all pretty poor) however I think he is taking Tom for "potential" and the "potential" to come up with lots of innovations and I think that is quite right given the change in the end reward. she would have walked it under the old proposition , but with a business investment he isnt necessarily looking for a fantastic business person, hes looking for someone with "ideas" and Tom us a product guy which he likes for the reasons I gave above.

    I may be the only person on here who thinks Susan was completely awful, Im gobsmacked she got so far. Very nice girl and I admire her for doing what she has done through adveristy but she seemed to be very naive, no grasp of figures and I dont think running a market stall (albeit with her own products) is anything like already having achieved getting products into Boots and Walmart etc without backing. She also seemed to have terribly bad general knowledge. Im sure she will get on but I think it was also a bad decision to ask for the investment in her current business rather than a fresh idea.

    someone had said Tom wasnt a starter /finisher. I dont think he needs to be, once a product has found a market then there are plenty of finishers you can employ. Sugar needed a starter.

    Bizzarley though, Im very suprised the initial selection process didnt include people submitting business plans at that point to make sure people at least had a half decent idea and could put a propsal together as in all honesty I didnt think any of the final ideas was half as good as conversations on potential businesses Ive heard in pubs

  • Comment number 16.

    As a big fan of both the apprentice and Dragons Den I feel the whole 11 episodes leading up to the final decision were flawed. What on earth was the point of the tasks if all it came down to was a good business plan. Even the 4 plans we saw would have been rejected on Dragons Den.

    Surely the better idea would have been to select the initial 16 based on a business plan which had already been scrutinised and then have tasks based around these.

    Tom is a nice guy but how many of the 12 rejected business plans might have been gems.

    As a previous post mentioned just the exposure on the apprentice would have had hundreds of thousands wanting to try Susans products. She had 12 weeks of free advertising on the BBC for ther beauty products.

  • Comment number 17.

    Of course the right person won, an inventor with a brilliant brain, the perfect partner to a businessman like Lord Sugar. Helen proved she was only a PA, but a good PA, if Sugar needs a secretary, then she must be in the frame. Susan may have skills but they are limited to the street markets, hey, nothing wrong with that! Jim on the other hand, didnt listen, only showed how thick he was, there was never an entrepreneur in Jim, but a dame fine photcopy paper salesman will be his peak. Justice was done, a great outcome, Thanks for a good show.

  • Comment number 18.

    I loved the series but absolutely hated and loathed the final episode. I felt it was dull dull dull. There was no spark, no entertainment no anything. I was thoroughly disappointed with the episode and it was a very flat end to what had been a very entertaining series. https://the-apprentice-fired.blogspot.com/ shows my upset at this lame final episode. Sorry BBC but maybe next year the final will be worthy of a final.

  • Comment number 19.

    Congratulations to Tom, a thoroughly likeable chap, but really what was the point of it all at the end of the day (other than entertainment) ?

    If Lord Sugar really wanted to show how it was possible to start up a new business in a recession (just like he keeps reminding us he did) why was the winner not somebody with a new business idea (of which there were 4 pretty dreadful ones to pick from) but into Tom's EXISTING business. Maybe something to do with his having contacts alreday in Walmart and Boots ?

    Stil, if you were faced with a mad inventor, a salesman with no ideas but loads of patter, a PA who won a few tasks and suddenly thought she was Bill Gates and an enthusiastic market trader, what would you do ?

  • Comment number 20.

    Great series again!
    Disappointed that Helen didn't get through......I thought in the end that maybe Lord Sugar would actually support both Helen and Tom....they would make a great team, with Tom's 'inventions' and Helen organising everything around the promotional activity. They could have opened a chain of MyPy's and as an added extra, while people were waiting for their order, to have their nails filed and buffed with the curved nail file!

  • Comment number 21.

    The right man won. I've written a little piece about it at https://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.com/2011/07/youre-hired.html

  • Comment number 22.

    On question to the audience. This is the first time I see the Apprentice and I enjoy it. Also I had like this blog and the comments, thank you to the persons involved on this.

    However, something is unclear to me. Why through the different tasks no-one use the internet? Is it the condition or constrain of the contest? or they did not think about?. I mean several questions related to items, prices, ideas, hints, corroboration of information, to mention some, could have been solved by searching on internet, even on the car while using their phone. But it never was even mentioned.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well done Tom, Lord Sugar has made a wise and intuitive choice, I hope he's reading this! I wanted Tom to win, and thought the final two would be Tom and Sue. Gut instinct I suppose that Tom did finally win. As soon as Nick Hewar commented on how Tom could prove to be COMPLEMENTARY to Lord Sugar's rough diamond approach to business, I realised what a good team they could actually make. I really hope Lord Sugar realises now that you don't necessarily have to display brashness, braggadacio or barefaced ruthlessness to succeed - particularly as partnerships go, there's always a tough guy and a soft guy who work well together. Still waters definitely run deep and Tom's quietly assured approach won through! CREATIVITY is CREATIVITY is CREATIVITY - you either have it or you don't. You don't have to be an excellent salesperson like Jim to be creative, you don't have to be an excellent organiser like Helen to be creative, you don't have to own a business like Sue to be creative. Creativity is something you are born with - and Tom has more creative talent than the other three finalists put together and possibly, dare I say it, even Lord Sugar. Lord Sugar as a shrewd and experienced businessman saw this and that is why Tom won!!!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Just a note to Caislas, contestants were banned from using all forms of the internet. I think people are failing to grasp why Tom won this series. It wasn't just about finding a BUSINESS partner, it was mainly finding an Inventor as a partner. Definitions of a good business partner are manifold - Lord Sugar wanted creativity in the forefront this time, that's all, Tom had that and had already put this to the test! Walmart is a MAJOR MAJOR retail outlet in the USA and even the most obtuse amongst us know how hard it is to break into the US market for anything! Helen, although an excellent "PA" wasn't enough -ironically, putting creativity to one side, if she was such a good PA, why did she not use her second idea first??? She had all the corporate skills and savoir faire to attempt to clutch at straws in a last ditch attempt to save her a--se - don't you think they saw through this? She's also a little unapproachable and cold, Jim charming but quite clearly full of phoney sales patter, Susan too naive and immature. The good thing about Tom is his unassuming manner, his affability and the endearing fact that he doesn't know yet just HOW INGENIOUS HE REALLY IS!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Helen has failed to convince that there is a real opportunity for her service. She only mentioned that she had 'spotted a niche'. It was definitely not enough. A colourful and well thought-through picture of her service picking up quickly and surely all accross the UK would have helped a lot.
    Susan is not my favourite. I was shocked earlier when she refused to cooperate with Natasha arguing 'she has never been to a Mexican restaurant' (so what? no bright ideas as to turning mexico-inspired clichés into something edgy?) and that peppers could not be used as an emblem because 'peppers are also used in other cuisines' (as if there should be one unique ingredient for each cuisine nobody else is authorised to use?....)
    Tom is a bright man and I am happy for him. Jim seemed to have wanted to get hold of Lord Sugar's money rather than to make money for Lord Sugar; just a misunderstanding.

  • Comment number 26.

    I really enjoyed this series of The Apprentice and agree there could be some merit in the idea of Helen working with Tom but when you start a new business you don't necessarily rush to employ people right away. To say Helen could not start her own business is, I think, flawed. I was a PA and started my own business and made a great success of it and it flourishes to this day. I was amazed that Susan Ma who had repeatedly talked herself up by stating "I have a global business" actually ran a Market stall at weekends! Whilst I applaud her tenacity and resourcefulness I hardly think that is the same as running a business that requires renting premises; dealing with rent reviews; complying with health and safety; purchasing necessary insurance and most all running a payroll and employing staff. This is one of the hardest parts. She was argumentative, difficult and definitely not a team player and has a lot to learn before she is capable of handling staff. It will be interesting to see how Tom fares and what a shame Helen had not got some advice about her business idea which was really no good. I wish her well

  • Comment number 27.

    As usual I enjoyed the series, but the new format where the objective is to select a business partner just doesn't work for me. It seems no matter how good your performance, everything in the end depends on the business plan and the preference of AS. Considering he is presumably putting in the investment himself, then obviously he has the right to choose whoever he likes, but it does make a nonsense of the previous 12 weeks. Also it seems Tom's business plan got short shrift anyway (deservedly so) as the plan now seems to further develop his nail files. Sounds like a good way for AS to acquire an existing successful product with little investment?

  • Comment number 28.

    I can understand the more cynical thinking that Tom got this on the basis of the nail file business etc... but come on! Helen would certainly have got the gig if her business idea was viable in any way shape or form. It was not. There was nothing salvagable about it. She gave Lord Sugar no where to go. You could see him struggle with it. If she won on the basis of her perfomance in the tasks then the series would be criticised for not choosing a business partner but an employee!

    The tasks for me have complete validity. They are real eye openers about individuals. They flush out a whole range of traits, strengths and weaknesses that you want to know about anyone you work with - especially someone you are giving 250k to! Get real. Some of these people are just plain deluded about their abilities. Helen was hardly tested in the boardroom at all. She may well have benefitted from this since I am not 100% sure that her idea was interpreted correctly and she did little to put that right.

    Karren Brady said it in the boardroom discussion with the interviewers. Tom was ideal for this process since - apart from the money which is not insignificant - he lacked the very thing that Lord Sugar was offering. Access to his acumen, advice, guidance is worth more than just the money.

    If I was Lord Sugar - I would certainly look at why Toms successful product was not followed up by the rest of the product range as a first step. This would be quick way to establish Tom and give him confidence and a bit of structure - as well as start to show some financial success. At the same time, bring up some of his other ideas to a workable level.

    The whole thing sounds like a plan to me! Wheres the problem?

    While I am at it - Esoteric - you are not alone. I too am nonplussed as to how Susan got so far. Awful indeed! As for her 'unique' business idea - I have one word for her - BODYSHOP!

  • Comment number 29.

    A thoroughly dissapointing final that let down the rest of this wonderful series. The final was devoid of any relation to the previous eleven weeks. Previously on The Apprentice Lord Sugar brought back all the losers to join the last two, there was glitz, dancers and showbiz as the two finalists pitched it out against one another. Compulsive viewing and a boardroom battle.

    This season we get four really bad business ideas that just crop up out of nowwhere, very quickly edited interviews and Lord Sugar having to pick someone out of a hat. No boardroom battle for supremacy. There was not enough time spent on the ideas and if they wanted to do this then it should be mixed in throughout the series.

    Tom should have gone way sooner and I think that the format was completly unfair - you could see back in episode 6 that Tom was likely to win.

    They are either going to have to completely rethink the format of the show for next year or stick to what is best. Maybe call it The Business Partner who can invent or how about The Apprentice until final week and then The Business Partner who can invent.

    BBC take note!

  • Comment number 30.

    Next year, can the producers of the Apprentice please exclude all Applicants and "business" plans of those who wish to set up Not-For-Profit-Organisations and anyone who, in essense, wants the prize money to do charity work.

    The apprentice is supposed to be a programme dedicated to businesses and it is obviously a complete waste of everyone's time. It is a waste of the audiences time, the applicant's time and ultimately Lord Sugar's time (as he made absolutely clear on the Apprentice - You're Hired).

    If the BBC wish to set up an alternative reality show about the most charitable person of the year then fine but please purge all these applicants from the apprentice as E-Learning for schools (Jim) or whatever nonsense that Melody claims to do for work having nothing at all to do with business or making money.

  • Comment number 31.


    Well after what looks like 5 years of hocking his nail file, it has finally got some decent publicity..... Although It's a bit concerning that a product which has been on the market for so long, is the winning business plan which is being taken forward. Not exactly going to change British export fortunes much.

    Anyway let's look on the bright side, at least he has a better haircut now...

  • Comment number 32.

    I think dawnyg said it perfectly of all 4 candidates :)

    It has been quite clear that LSugar wanted a product man. He has mentioned it on 2nd or 3rd series and he was aware off Tom's capabilities. He was also aware and intrigued how Tom managed to get business with Wal-Mart, and that alone is like a gold pot for Tom. this is the sole reason that despite of his 7 losses, he was still in the process. He could have long gone. But, LSugar surely has some tricks up his sleeve (lets face it, he is a ruthless man)....I'm sure he would have thought "I'm gonna stick him back of the room to design and invent, I'll get my team to manufacture and my selling team to go out to sell"... LOL. Credit to Tom though, he is a very smart and intelligent guy. No doubt he deserves that partnership as the only 2 people in this process whom I liked were Tom (for his sincerity and intelligence) and Jim (for his contribution in all tasks and ability to sell).
    Susan Ma - while I feel sorry for her background and admire her courage for coming thus far in life - from China to Auz and then to UK with single parent (very rare to see a person like this), she made the whole business plan a flaw based on her market sales. In Dara's interview, she said she was annoyed that Jim called her mouse. She should thank Jim for that as he told her what he saw, and then the real Susan came out. All along in the process, Susan was being shot down, stumped and kept in ground. If she had half of the aggression she showed in the last 2 episodes, she could have stood up for people like Zoe and Natasha. I saw Susan as a person who runs back to mummy, everytime being picked up by kids at school...and then Jim calls her a mouse, and woosh, suddenly she is a tigeress...however, not only there is clearly something about her that LSugar liked, she has a product that can be collaborated with nail file. So, she hit a jackpot there. I am sure LSugar saw a female version of himself. Hard life, took initiative, worked way through and succeeded....
    My main vote through this process is Jim....a contributor throughout the series. I dont recall an episode where he sat back and watched. He is a charmer indeed - that is called public relationship and it is v important. I dont understand why he is hated so much. Why surprised me is that he manipulated the business plan to suit Lord Sugar's company, which I thought was the ultimate error for him to do, but unshamingly admitting to it. But I think the manner he was fired is


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