Leah Totton has won The Apprentice 2013, beating rival Luisa Zissman in tonight’s final with her cosmetic surgery business plan.
Avoiding a firing from Lord Sugar, Leah is the only candidate in this year’s series to have heard those golden words, “You’re going to be my business partner.”
During tonight’s final boardroom, Lord Sugar seemed to waver between each candidate, admitting, “We’ve got two very investable candidates here, it’s not going to be an easy decision.”
But, after admitting that Luisa’s baking business would be the safer option, joking, “how much trouble can I get in with cupcakes”, it was Lord Sugar’s self-proclaimed gambling side that won out, telling the finalists: “So, I think I’ve made my mind up now. At the end of the day, the devil in me is wanting to take a risk. Leah, you’re going to be my new business partner.”
The news followed one final task, which saw previous candidates from the series return to help Leah and Luisa put their money where their mouths were and launch their respective business plans.
Quick off the mark, Leah scooped all of her desired team mates, calling in Alex Mills, Francesca MacDuff-Varley, Myles Mordaunt and Uzma Yakoob.
Luisa clamoured to get Neil Clough on her team and scooped up Natalie Panayi, but missed out on Alex, Francesca and Myles, leaving her to begrudging call up Zeeshaan Shah and Jason Leech.
Jason quite sweetly told Lord Sugar he was “very touched when Luisa called me to help her.” Still a gent.
At the prospect of pitching their brand, website and promotional video to 100 industry experts, both ladies found their patience pushed to the limits.
Leah snapped at her team “someone creative find a strong end to the video”, while Luisa ignored criticism of her logo – which revolved around a cartoon of herself – insisting, “I really like myself on there”.
Both finalists found they needed the help of their returning entourage when it came to branding.
Throwing ideas for company names like “masterbake” around, it took Zee to help Luisa settle on the more appropriate name “Baker’s toolkit”.
For Leah, it took Myles and Francesca to point out that Leah’s chosen name ‘Niʞs’ (skin backwards, with a backwards K) had been criticised for sounding like her customers were going to be accidentally cut, rather than delicately operated on.
Lord Sugar joked that it sounded like his aide Nick Hewer was about to open a wine bar.
Leah eventually resorted to calling it N.I.K.S, although if Lord Sugar gets his way, it’ll be called Dr Leah – that is his suggestion for the business.
Once their teams had left the boardroom, both girls were left to fight one last time for their chance to win Lord Sugar’s hefty investment.
Luisa insisted: “The business that I’m pitching, I know will be profitable”, while Leah enthused, “You’re investing in me as a person and I genuinely think I’m a dependable, trustworthy person to invest in.”
At 66 years of age, Lord Sugar says he’s metaphorically sticking his chin out in what he describes as a “nasty world” where he’s the “bullseye on a dartboard” by backing a cosmetic surgery brand. He joked, “I’ll be putting my name, not my face to the brand.”
But that can’t crush Leah’s excitement, gushing in the winner’s car: “To have Lord Sugar show this faith in me is absolutely unbelievable, it’s amazing. I had much less experience than the other candidates in business coming into the process and I really can’t believe that I have got this far and that I’ve actually won it!
“I’m really going to do everything that I can to prove that he has made the right decision and I won’t let him down,” Leah added.
So, that’s it. Sixteen candidates, 12 weeks and Lord Sugar finally has his new business partner. Until next year, folks…