Lord Alan Sugar has a new business partner after Marnie Swindells was named winner of The Apprentice tonight.
The 28-year-old was part of the all-female final of the hit BBC series as she went head-to-head with Rochelle Anthony in a bid to secure the £250,000 investment. It followed 12 weeks of intense competition and boardroom drama.
During the final, Marnie and Rochelle had to pull together the most important business pitch of their careers so far and attempt to convince Lord Sugar and industry experts that they were worth the investment. The two finalists were also supported by a number of candidates who had been fired earlier in the series who returned to help them bring their business plans to life.
It is a familar format for fans of The Apprentice, having been the way the winner is decided since the show switched from hiring an apprentice to finding a business partner for Lord Sugar. During the final boardroom, Alan’s aides, Baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell, shared their thoughts on the two finalists.
Here is who won and what you need to know:
What is Marnie’s business plan?
Swindells, a 28-year-old court advocate and gold medal-winning boxer from London, was aiming to get Lord Sugar to invest in her community-focused boxing gym BRONX. In the interview stages it was revealed she had already secured grants and other investments for the idea.
How did she react to winning?
She said: “What an incredible opportunity and moment for a girl like me to get to a place like this and have become Lord Sugar’s business partner. It feels strange to even say that, but I’m not going to stop saying it because I am so happy.”
Why did Lord Sugar pick her as the winner?
During the final boardroom, Baroness Brady said: “Marnie, she has never run a business before, and she’s chosen a business that’s very competitive – can she stand out in this very competitive market?” Campbell advocated for the boxing gym owner, added: “That being said, for an ambassador for a boxing facility, there is no-one better I would think than Marnie and what she stands for.”
After the two finalists presented their final pitches to Lord Sugar, the business magnate came to his decision. He said: “Marnie, it is such a crowded and competitive market. I’m thinking, ‘Is this £250,000 down the drain?’
“Rochelle, what worries me about you is why would your second and third branch be popular and make me and you money? It’s a tough one, but Marnie, you’re asking me to invest in something which is completely alien to me to be honest and you’ve never run a business before.
“Rochelle, it’s opening the second one and it really is a difficult decision as to what industry I should be in. Two very excellent candidates. But I’ve always been known to be a gambler, I’ve always been known to try new horizons so I’m going to try a new horizon… Marnie, you are going to be my business partner.”
All episodes of The Apprentice series 17 are available to watch on BBC iPlayer.