Vana’s View: The Apprentice finalist on Week 9 – “Sofiane made sexist comments throughout and I didn’t like his attitude”

"Sofiane was the weakest link – I don’t like how he runs his mouth – but I’m really going to miss Dillon’s positive energy and exuberance," says last year's runner-up


Only eight candidates remain! How exciting. I can’t believe we are already in week nine…


Karren and Claude are at the house first thing. And it’s a virtual reality task. SO cool!!! A virtual board room. Computer games. 70 billion pound industry! It doesn’t get more modern than this and I love that Lord Sugar is innovating. It’s time for the contestants to design a new VR game and a brand. I’ve been developing a gamified dating app, DatePlay, so I wish I could be on this task. I’ve spent the past few months working at Wayra, a startup accelerator in London, and they LOVE innovative products like this. In the past year I’ve really seen that this is going to be the future of tech and I’m impressed that the show is jumping on board.

Professionals from the expo (where the contestants present their new VR games) will be reporting back to Lord Sugar. Now that’s going to be the tough part. It’s always difficult to depend on qualitative feedback because it hinges on the feeling that the audience and experts get from the pitches. May the best public speaker win!

Sofiane and Trishna are both doing technology for their business plans, so there has been a shake up in the teams. Trishna is putting herself forward for PM. Dillon wants to put himself forward but Sofiane shouts him down.

The teams’ target market is 15-34-year-old males. I like how focused Fran is on tailoring the product towards them.

Dillon’s idea about defending the royals wasn’t really my cup of tea. I was thinking of something much more MODERN. I’m a bit surprised Dillon and Alanna are creating the game?! Dillon is super creative and should be on the other team.

My biggest concern is about integration…. Building the characters and a brand identity is fun but I worry about how difficult it’ll be to make all the pieces fit together. How will they amalgamate this into the game?

Jessica is on fire in this task. I’m impressed by her creativity in the brainstorm in the car ride with Courtney – she is super talented and Trishna made a good choice by putting her on branding. I like that the badger gets lost in space!

Alanna asks a good question during the game creation stage, getting Dillon re-focused on the target market. I think she’s a strong candidate and I like that she always stays calm in stressful situations.

Now for the fun part – the creation of the brand for Sofiane and Grianne who sit down to sketch it out dressed in some crazy costumes. Super stressful!

Jessica did an excellent job in the pitch. I’m really impressed by her exuberance and I see her as a really strong candidate at the moment. I’m proud of her huge turnaround from last week – so impressive.

Sofiane, on the other hand, who led the other pitch, didn’t do as good a job because he was so disorganised. He put the team in disarray. A true leader wouldn’t try to shine at the expense of his teammates.

It’s going to be interesting to see how teams of just four people actually work together. At the beginning of the process, part of the difficulty was that there were so many people competing for the spotlight and trying to lead. Now, the teams are so small that people’s talents really start to come through.

Now for the boardroom. It sounds like people were impressed by Jessica’s performance but Sofiane left them underwhelmed. His team don’t think he’s a very good team leader. I’m not surprised by the landslide win by Trishna’s team. The creativity that Courtney and Jessica displayed in the branding was far superior to that of Sofiane and Grianne.

By the way, what an awesome treat! Chambers of flavour… Immersive dining?! I really want to try this – dining on a plane is so cool.

Now for the scary part. In such a small boardroom, things can get ugly. I thought it was pretty obvious that Sofiane couldn’t bring Dillon back into the boardroom – he performed well and his talents were misallocated – but alas, I was mistaken and Dillon and Grianne must also face Lord Sugar.

It’s Grianne who escapes the axe as the Apprentice boss fires Sofiane AND Dillon.  In my opinion, Sofiane was the weakest link – I don’t like how he runs his mouth – but I’m really going to miss Dillon’s positive energy and exuberance.


I’m not surprised by the double firing. I think it was time for Sofiane to make his exit. Throughout the tasks he made sexist comments and I didn’t really like his attitude. I can’t wait to see who makes the final five next week.