Sian Gabbidon: who is 2018 The Apprentice winner, what is her business and why has Lord Alan Sugar ‘cut ties’?

The news has come just days after Harpreet Kaur was crowned as the winner of The Apprentice 2022

<p>Lord Alan Sugar crowned Sian Gabbidon as the winner of The Apprentice in 2018 (image: PA/Getty Images)</p>

Lord Alan Sugar crowned Sian Gabbidon as the winner of The Apprentice in 2018 (image: PA/Getty Images)

The Apprentice has routinely been one of the BBC’s most watched primetime TV shows since its debut in 2005.

The competition’s premise is centred around securing investment from billionaire businessman Lord Alan Sugar - a feat recently accomplished by Harpreet Kaur.

But a theme has begun to emerge among The Apprentice’s past winners, after Lord Alan Sugar has reportedly cut ties with Series 14 winner Sian Gabbidon.

She has become the fifth former winner to have parted company with the tycoon.

So who is Sian Gabbidon, what business does she run - and why has Lord Alan Sugar cut ties with it?

Here’s everything you need to know.

The finalists of the latest series of the BBC programme The Apprentice, Harpreet Kaur and Kathryn Burn with Lord Sugar (PA)

Who is Sian Gabbidon?

Sian Gabbidon, 29, won Series 14 of The Apprentice back in 2018.

She was born and raised in Leeds by her mother, Amanda - a nurse - and her father, Steven - a factory worker.

On Ms Gabbidon’s website, she reveals she lived on council estates when she grew up and describes herself as having had “humble beginnings”.

In a February 2019 interview with Hello! magazine, the entrepreneur - who is mixed race -  revealed she had been the subject of racist taunts throughout her childhood.

“I noticed I was often the only mixed-race girl in the class, or one of very few. There were times I got racially abused but it never held me back,” she said.

Sian Gabbidon has cited Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle as one of her biggest inspirations (image: Getty Images)

“I like to think that hopefully there are girls like me who are looking at my story, and thinking ‘I can achieve that’, and that is something very close to my heart.”

During the interview, Ms Gabbidon expressed admiration for Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle - saying she found Ms Markle to be a “massively inspiring” role model and a person she wishes she’d been able to look up to when she was younger.

Previously, Sian Gabbidon has also identified Coco Chanel as her business idol because she “came from nothing and worked her way to the top”.

Before appearing on The Apprentice in 2018, Ms Gabbidon studied fashion design with marketing and production at the University of Huddersfield University, gaining a first class honours degree.

Her partner, Clint Gordon, has recently joined the cast of TV soap Coronation Street.

Mr Gordon is also a property entrepreneur.

What business does Sian Gabbidon run?

Sian Gabbidon had already started her swimwear design business - Sian Marie Fashion - before she appeared on TV.

According to her website, she was heavily into drawing, painting and sewing from an early age and got her first sewing machine at the age of 16.

After graduating, Ms Gabbidon worked in marketing and ran her swimwear business on the side through Instagram.

Sian Marie Fashion got its big break in 2016 when Kate Wright from The Only Way is Essex wore a variety of its designs on a much-publicised holiday in Dubai

After winning The Apprentice Sian Gabbidon received £250,000 of investment in her business from Lord Alan Sugar, who also became her business partner.

At the time, Lord Sugar praised Ms Gabbidon’s “great aptitude” and “talent for design”.

After winning, she said: “(Working with Lord Sugar) is the biggest challenge I have ever had in my life. There’s no way I’m going to let the biggest challenge take me out. I am nervous but I’m ready.”

Since her victory on The Apprentice, Ms Gabbidon’s brand has appeared on even more well-known faces, including Love Island’s Molly-Mae Hague and Maura Higgins, as well as in major retailers, like Asda.

It has also moved into other areas of fashion, such as loungewear.

Why has Sir Alan Sugar ‘cut ties’ with Sian Gabbidon?

No reason has been given for why Lord Alan Sugar has reportedly ‘cut ties’ with Sian Gabbidon’s Sian Marie Fashion business - news first reported by the Daily Mail.

Indeed, the move has not yet been confirmed by Ms Gabbidon herself and she still describes herself as a “business partner to Lord Sugar” on her Twitter page.

The latest documents the firm has filed with Companies House show Lord Alan Sugar resigned as a director on 18 March 2022.

Lord Sugar’s Amsvest Limited owned between 25% and 50% of the business and was listed as a ‘person with significant control’ - but this also ceased to be the case on 18 March.

He has form when it comes to former winners of The Apprentice.

2015 winner Joseph Valente, 2016 victor Alana Spencer and 2017 champion James White have all previously cut ties with Lord Sugar.

The show’s 2010 winner Stella English also went into business with Lord Sugar - becoming part of his computer company Viglen.

But she quit and then attempted to sue him for constructive dismissal in 2013 - a bid that failed.