By Jenny Mayer
Season 13 of The Apprentice is almost over, with only two business hopefuls left to compete for investment and approval from Lord Alan Sugar.
Although Lord Sugar is best known for his long tenure as host of this hugely successful BBC show, his past is arguably more entertaining than watching him cut a room of snooty contestants down to size.
A self-made man with an innate sense of corporate strategy, Sugar rose from humble beginnings in a council flat to being appointed the UK’s Enterprise Tsar thanks to his tenacity, savvy and a tell-it-like-it-is attitude.
His qualifications to sit across from hopeful candidates in the boardroom have been built up through years of diverse business experience from heading up an early computing giant (Amstrad) to more recently acquiring a lucrative property empire (Amsprop) which currently accounts for £800m of his £1.2bn net worth.
Sugar’s path to success began when he withdrew his entire £100 savings to sell electronics from the back of a van. While this seems more wheeler-dealer than respected business leader, this early defiance of convention and fearlessness at going out on a limb act as a great template to understanding the stratospheric rise of the man who now holds the title Baron Sugar of Clapton.
That isn’t to say that there weren’t hard times along the way, Amstrad’s dominance of the home computer space wasn’t to last forever but his ability to shrewdly pivot the direction of both his monetary and time investments have seen him emerge from every snag even more successful than before.
So, while you wait eagerly to find out who will be the lucky winner of season 13, why not learn a bit more about the man making the decision and why he is more than qualified to tell a sad procession of hapless young professionals: “You’re Fired.”