The full lineup for the 2021 series of The Apprentice has finally been released ahead of the show’s return this week after being rested for two years due to the Covid pandemic.
A former rugby player, eco warrior, a ‘witch school’ graduate and the self-dubbed ‘Asian version of Lord Sugar’ lead the diverse 16-person group who will be battling it out in the boardroom in a bid to nab Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment in their business.
This year’s group features eight women and eight men from a wide range of business backgrounds, with specialists in online pyjama sales, the retail industry and the food and drink market set to make their screen debut when the series launches on Thursday.
The contestants – who BBC bosses insisted were all double vaccinated before taking part in the series – are set to face the toughest challenges ever due to many businesses across the UK having been negatively affected by the pandemic.
Amstrad mogul Lord Alan, 74, is joined by longtime ally and advisor Baroness Karren Brady and series one winner Tim Campbell, who is replacing Claude Littner for the series while he recovers from multiple surgeries following a serious E-Bike accident.
The Apprentice 2021: 1. Akshay Thakrar, 28, Digital Marketing Agency Owner 2. Stephanie Affleck, 28, Online Children’s Store Owner 3. Aaron Willis, 38, Flight Operations Instructor 4. Francesca Kennedy-Wallbank, 26, Sustainability Company Owner 5. Alex Short, 27, Commercial Cleaning Company Owner 6. Amy Anzel, 48, Beauty Brand Owner 7. Harry Mahmood, 35, Regional Operations Manager 8. Kathryn Louise Burn, 29, Online Pyjama Store Owner 9. Conor Gilsena, 28, Sales Executive and former Professional Rugby Player 10. Harpeet Kaur, 30, Dessert Parlour Owner 11. Akeem Bundu Kamara, 29, Strategy Manager for a Financial Firm 12. Nick Showering, 31, Finance Manager 13. Brittany Carter, 25, Hotel Front of House Manager 14. Shama Ami, 41, Children’s Day Nursery 15. Navid Sole, 27, Pharmacist 16. Sophie Wilding, 32, Boutique Cocktail Bar
The hit BBC show is now in its 16th season, having began in 2005 as a groundbreaking show which featured some of the country’s best young business minds hoping to secure a job with the then Sir Alan.
However the programme has slowly turned into a more reality TV-inspired fare, with big personalities gloating irreverently about their skills in business.
Among the women competing for Lord Sugar’s investement is glamorous dessert-parlour owner Harpreet Kaur, 30, who already earns six figures from her her coffee and cake business.
‘I’m definitely not in in business to make friends, I’m here to make money,’ she declares.
Sophie from Cheltenham is the proud owner of a boutique cocktail bar, describing herself as ‘magical and enchanting’ and even has a witch school qualification.
At 48, London-based beauty brand owner Amy Anzel admits she is coming to the business later in life after working for years in sales and showbiz. But she is determined for her brand to be known nationwide, insisting ‘if I have to be a b**ch’ I will.’
THE APPRENTICE 2021: MEET THE WOMEN
AMY ANZEL, 48
Occupation: Owner, beauty brand
Key information: Starting her beauty business a little later in life, Amy has now found what she really loves doing after previously working in sales, showbiz and jingles.
She says: ‘I can be nice when I need to be, but when I unfortunately have to be a b***h, I will…’
BRITTANY CARTER, 25
Occupation: Hotel front of house manager
Key information: Brittany is looking to break away from her hotel role and launch the first alcoholic protein drink, with Lord Sugar’s help.
She says: ‘My motto for life is ‘always look on the bright side’
FRANCESCA KENNEDY-WALLBANK, 26
Occupation: Owner, sustainability company
Key information: The eco-conscious, mathematics graduate is looking for investment in her next venture, providing a product carbon footprint service for businesses with a simple equation of her own creation.
She says: ‘There’s two types of people in the world- people that say they are going to do things and people that actually do them and I’m a doer’
HARPEET KAUR, 30
Occupation: Owner, dessert parlour
Lives: West Yorkshire
Key information: Describing herself as a born leader, fearless and funny, Harpreet plans to ‘level up’ her successful, six-figure coffee and cakes business to become a leading brand in the UK.
She says: ‘I’m definitely not in business to make friends. I’m here to make money, and I’m sure Lord Sugar isn’t looking for a new mate.
KATHRYN LOUISE BURN, 29
Occupation: Owner, online pyjama store
Key information: Kathryn has worked a wide range of jobs from mortgage advisor to events manager. Describing herself as ambitious, kind, and often ‘savage’, she says she’s there to win, not to make friends.
She says: ‘My dreams in my head are absolutely huge and I believe I can achieve them.’
SOPHIE WILDING, 32
Occupation: Owner, boutique cocktail bar
Key information: Describing herself as ‘magical and enchanting’ Sophie even has a witch school qualification. She previously worked in sales and has huge renovation plans for her bar.
She says: ‘Failure is not an option. Winning is part of my DNA.’
STEPHANIE AFFLECK, 28
Occupation: Owner, online children’s store
Key information: With her East-London roots, the blonde is hoping to bond with Lord Sugar and match his no nonsense attitude towards business. She’s looking for funding to develop her designer store and be part of the growing pre-loved fashion industry.
She says: ‘I’ve got grit, determination and I’m determined to be successful.’
SHAMA AMIN, 41
Occupation: Owner, children’s day nursery
Key information: Shama already has a busy work life running her children’s day nursery as well as juggling life with five children at home. She is ready to prove she has the ‘skillset that is required to be one of the best, successful businesswomen in the early years sector.’
She says: ‘Being a lady of colour, wearing a headscarf as well and the challenges that we face on a daily basis, I just want to be a living example for the Asian women out there.’
Brittany Carter from Bristol is looking to break away from her hotel front of house manager role and launch the first alcoholic protein drink, with Lord Sugar’s help. Her positive attitude is her best asset she says, revealing that every morning she ‘writes 10 things that I am grateful for and when I go to sleep, I reflect on 5 things I am grateful for from that day. ‘
Shama Amin, 41, already has a busy work life running her children’s day nursery as well as juggling life with five children at home.
Describing herself as loyal, determined and outspoken, Shama is ready to prove she has the ‘skillset that is required to be one of the best, successful businesswomen in the early years sector.’
Stephanie Affleck, 28, also works in the childrens sector, running her own designer clothing store for kids. With her East-London roots, the blonde is hoping to bond with Lord Sugar and match his nononsense attitude towards business.
Kathryn Louise Burn, 29, from Swindon owns an online pyjama store but has worked a wide range of jobs from mortgage advisor to events manager. Describing herselfas ambitious, kind, and often ‘savage’, she says she’s there to win, not to make friends.
Francesca Kennedy Wallbank, is a 26-year-old, eco-conscious, mathematics graduate looking for investment in her next venture, providing a product carbon footprint service for businesses with a simple equation of her own creation.
Coming from a line of successful entrepreneurs, she is confident that she can win, stating: ‘I’ve never lost anything, I always win.’
Wow: Kathryn Louise Burn (L) goes as ‘Kaggz’ on Instagram and already boasts 3,000 followers on Instagram- thanks to her string of sexy bikini-clad snaps while with her East-London roots, Stephanie Affleck (R) is hoping to bond with Lord Sugar
Life’s a beach: Surrey-based businesswoman Francesca Kennedy Wellbank (L) regularly shares snaps on holidays abroad while Amy Anzel has now found what she really loves doing after previously working in sales, showbiz and jingles
Among the men competing to win the investment are 38-year-old Flight Operations Instructor Aaron Wills who isn’t afraid of hard work having previously slogged it out at as a milkman, horseman and butcher.
The outgoing and full of life salesman is ‘hungry for success’ and says he is at a stage now, where he ‘can’t let anyone stand in his way’.
Akeem Bundu Kamara, 29, works as a Strategy Manager for a Financial Firm and insists he’ll stand out from the sea of other candidates due to his ‘ambition, drive and the experience working with strategy’,
The confident London dweller also states he’s already on ‘the pathway to making it’.
THE APPRENTICE 2021: MEET THE MEN
AARON WILLIS, 38
Occupation: Flight Operations Instructor
Lives in: Chorley, Lancashire
Key information: Having served in the RAF for 12 years as Flight Operations Instructor, Aaron has set out to start his own security business.
He says: ‘My strongest point is that I can sell to anybody and I think that’s the reason why my business will be a success, because people will buy from me.’
AKSHAY THAKRAR, 28
Occupation: Owner, Digital Marketing Agency
Lives in: London
Key information: Referring to himself as a man who believes sleeping is a ‘waste of time’ he also claims his first word as a newborn was ‘profit’.
He says: ‘My friends call me AK 47 because I’m a killer salesperson.’
CONOR GILSENAN, 28
Occupation: Sales Executive and former Professional Rugby Player
Lives in: London
Key information: Hard working and ‘hyper motivated by money’, ex rugby player Conor describes himself as a ‘corporate panther’ with a record for getting deals done and who will win this series.
He says: ‘I’m going to be the corporate panther in the boardroom, I’m going to get it done, and I’m going to be Lord Sugar’s perfect business partner.’
NAVID SOLE, 27
Lives in: London
Key information: Qualified pharmacist and Nicki Minaj superfan Navid aspires to create a successful pharmacy business with the help and expertise of Lord Sugar.
He says: ‘Nothing intimidates me because I just feel like I’m a strong character, strong person, strong mindset.’
AKEEM BUNDU KAMARA, 29
Occupation: Strategy Manager for a Financial Firm
Lives in: London
Key information: Akeem considers himself a people’s person who loves being around others, however as a ‘numbers guy’, his analytical ability often causes him to think carefully about his every move, as he claims he will come in with a ‘calculated point of view.’
He says: ‘My growing up has made me who I am, I’m able to converse with everyone, but also able to show that financial, business side to myself.’
ALEX SHORT, 27
Occupation: Owner, Commercial Cleaning Company
Lives in: Hertford
Key information: With big goals for his commercial cleaning business, Alex is driven, focused and is ‘not going to stop’ until he gets where he wants to go.
He says: ‘I would compare myself to a Ferrari, shiny on the outside but under the bonnet, there is a lot of fire and I’m coming for you.’
HARRY MAHMOOD, 35
Occupation: Regional Operations Manager
Lives in: West Midlands
Key information: Inspired by the kindness of his grandparents, Harry wants to help and support people.
He says: ‘Everything I’ve looked into achieving, I’ve achieved I’ve literally done everything I’ve put my mind to.’
NICK SHOWERING, 31
Occupation: Finance Manager
Lives in: London
Key information: After ‘working in the shadow of his family’s business’, qualified accountant Nick hopes to make a name for himself in the drinks industry with his line of flavoured water.
He says: ‘In business I’m a bit of a force to be reckoned with I know what I’m talking about, I know how things work, and I’m extremely experienced So, I’m a bit of an animal in the boardroom’
Already the owner of his own business, Digital Marketing Agency manager Akshay Thakrar is a whizz in the business world at just 28 years old.
Akshay believes he’s been put on earth to do one thing, and that’s to make money. He has the ability to speak seven languages, and as a result claims he is able to connect with everyone and therefore can ‘sell anything, to anyone’.
Another business owner, Alex Short, 27, dropped out of school during sixth form but hasn’t let that hold him back from achieving his career goals.
The Commercial Cleaning Company owner is now on the way to tripling his turnover which he views as the ‘most impressive’ thing he’s done in business, so far.
Wow: Alex Short (L) said ‘I would compare myself to a Ferrari, shiny on the outside but under the bonnet, there is a lot of fire and I’m coming for you’ while Akeem Bundu Kamara (R) considers himself a people’s person who loves being around others
Bringing some sporting flair to the competition is former rugby player Conor Gilsenan, 28, who is now a sales executive.
His business idea consists of a fleet of quirky food and beverage vendors targeted at music and sports events.
Harry Mahmood, 35, is a Regional Operations Manager who describes himself as ‘the Asian version of Lord Sugar’, and hopes they can work together to develop his bath bomb business and become ‘the bad boys of the bath bomb world together.
Up next is qualified pharmacist and Nicki Minaj superfan Navid Sole, 27, who wants to bring Lord Sugar into the pharmacy business.
Describing himself as quirky and unique, Navid plans to stay true to himself throughout the process, no mean feat in a house full of ruthless businessmen.
Completing the male line-up is Finance Manager Nick Showering, 31, who doesn’t believe in stepping on others to get where you want in business.
Considering himself a people person who is lots of fun, Nick’s plan to beat the competition is to ‘kill them with kindness’
Filming for this series was planned to begin in Spring 2020 but the onset of the pandemic forced the BBC to postpone production to a later date.
With 16 new candidates competing to win a life-changing £250,000 investment in their business, the series launches with a challenge that is anything but plain sailing.
Aboard a brand-new cruise ship laid on by Lord Sugar, the candidates are split into teams as they’re tasked with designing an advertising campaign for a destination cruise.
After being thrown in the deep end during the first task, those who do survive will face a host of equally daunting challenges ahead as relationships are tested and competitive drive is flared.
The tasks include being launched into the world of children’s oral care, an adventurous brief to boost Welsh tourism with zip lines and steam trains – and the development of an original video game concept will also take things up another level.
The budding entrepreneurs will also find themselves in the spotlight as they sell live on TV, negotiate fishy waters in Cornwall and navigate a racing inspired corporate away day at Silverstone.
There will be no easing gently back into boardroom life this series as Lord Sugar makes no secret that the stakes are higher than ever.
Each task will end with the candidates being summoned in to fight their corner in the boardroom, with one final opportunity to escape the firing line.
Speaking from the boardroom in the first episode, Lord Sugar said: ‘I must say, we are glad to be back in the boardroom again. But don’t for one minute think I’ve gone soft. Due to the pandemic, the world of business is tougher than ever before and the same goes for this process. In this boardroom you don’t get furloughed, you get fired.’
Over the years, Lord Sugar has invested close to a staggering £3million into winning pitches and this year’s ambitious entrepreneurs will be doing their utmost to prove they mean business as they fight it out for the life-changing investment opportunity.
Comedian, writer and actor Tom Allen returns as host of The Apprentice: You’re Fired, which will air each week on BBC Two straight after the main show.
Casting a wry eye over each week’s events, Tom will be joined by a host of celebrity fans and business professionals to dissect and debate the candidates progress through each task.
It’s back! The Apprentice will return for its stellar 16th series in January with Lord Alan Sugar putting his trust into aides Baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell to watch over the candidates during challenges
Resting up: While Lord Sugar will have trusted advisor Baroness Karren Brady back by his side, Claude Littner (left) will be taking a series break as he recovers from multiple surgeries, with series one winner Tim Campbell (right) stepping in
Two special episodes, The Final Five and Why I Fired Them, will also return to reveal the stories behind the series before the finale.
The Final Five reflects on the journey of the candidates who make it through to the interviews, before they battle it out to secure their place in the final. Before the series finale, Lord Sugar will also reveal a further insight into his boardroom decisions in Why I Fired Them.
The Apprentice last aired in 2019, with Carina Lepore emerging victorious and bagging a whopping £250,000 investment in her baking business.
The Apprentice starts this Thursday, January 6 at 9pm on BBC One, followed by You’re Fired on BBC Two. Watch live and on-demand on BBC iPlayer
Reigning champion: The Apprentice last aired in 2019, with Carina Lepore emerging victorious and bagging a whopping £250,000 investment in her baking business