All The Apprentice winners who ditched Lord Sugar after taking his £250,000 investment – and they’ve gone onto have VERY mixed success

For many budding businesses, winning The Apprentice can come as the pinnacle of success, with the chance to land a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.

When the show began in 2005, winners landed a £100,000-per-year job at one of Lord Sugar’s companies.

But things turned sour when 2010 winner Stella English attempted to sue Lord Sugar for wrongful dismissal, and the following year the prize was changed to a £250,000 invested from Sugar into the winner’s own business.

And while some have continued their relationship with Lord Sugar for many years, others opted for step away from the investment for a variety of reasons.

So, as the new series of The Apprentice kicks off with a new group of business hopefuls, MailOnline takes a look at the winners who have since parted ways with Lord Sugar…

Joseph Valente – Series 11 (2015)

Joseph Valente was crowned The Apprentice champion in 2015, but two years after landing the investment for his plumbing business, they parted ways

Joseph was forced to sell his boiler installation business in 2020 for an undisclosed sum following claims it owed almost £2million to creditors

Joseph was forced to sell his boiler installation business in 2020 for an undisclosed sum following claims it owed almost £2million to creditors

Just two years after landing Lord Sugar’s six-figure investment for his plumbing business, Joseph Valente decided to part ways with him.

Joseph announced he would take full control of ImpraGas – but they still ended their partnership on friendly terms.

At the time, Lord Sugar said: ‘I’ll still be on hand to offer any help and advice required. I wish Joseph and ImpraGas all the very best for the future and will follow their progress with much affection.’

The Apprentice boss divested himself of his interest in the company, and Joseph acquired his shareholding and took full control of the business.

Joseph added: ‘I am so grateful for everything Lord Sugar has done for me and I could not have asked for a better partner in the early stages of my business career.

‘I owe him a great deal. I am confident that with the winning business model we created together, I can continue to grow the business successfully.’

Joseph was forced to sell his boiler installation business in 2020 for an undisclosed sum following claims it owed almost £2million to creditors.

Shell company VBH Assets, also co-owned by Joseph, then entered into voluntary liquidation, owing £1.9million to creditors.

Joseph has previously detailed his struggles with depression and the public criticism he faced after his business failed. 

The star, who became a father in 2021, told The Mirror: ‘It hit me very hard, I was very depressed for a couple of months, and one day I woke up and thought, ‘There is no way I am going to let this destroy me.

‘I had my credibility and my reputation to rebuild.’

Since then, Joseph has started a course on how to support new and existing businesses and how to grow them, and they’ve gone from strength to strength.

Alana Spencer – Series 12 (2016) 

Alana Spencer landed Lord Sugar's vast investment to support her baking business Ridiculously Rich in 2016. Three years later she bought back his shares

Alana Spencer landed Lord Sugar’s vast investment to support her baking business Ridiculously Rich in 2016. Three years later she bought back his shares

Alana landed Lord Sugar’s vast investment to support her baking business Ridiculously Rich.

She previously revealed that her turnover has gone from £100,000 to £450,000 in a year thanks to winning The Apprentice. 

Three years after her win, Alana bought back Lord Sugar’s shares and she became the sole owner and director of the business in 2019. 

She wrote on social media: ‘A little while ago I had the amazing opportunity to buy out Lord Sugar from Ridiculously Rich and take full control back of my business,’ she explained on social media.

‘It was an exciting, crazy, scary few months while the final details were being agreed and sorted, but something I am so grateful for.’

She added: ‘Working with Lord Sugar has been an incredible experience and I have learned such a lot in such a short space of time. I am so grateful for his time in Ridiculously Rich by Alana.’

Wishing her luck, Lord Sugar said: ‘I will follow Alana’s progress with much affection.’

James White and Sarah Lynn – Series 13 (2017)

James White and Sarah Lynn were both awarded Lord Sugar's investement in a surprise twist in 2016, with both going onto have varying degrees of success

James White and Sarah Lynn were both awarded Lord Sugar’s investement in a surprise twist in 2016, with both going onto have varying degrees of success

During The Apprentice’s 13th series, Lord Sugar made the surprise decision to award two finalists his investment.

He invested £500,000 that year, with half going to James’ IT recruitment firm and the other half into Sarah’s confectionary company.

Sarah’s personalised confectionary business, Sweets in the City, has gone from strength to strength since Lord Sugar joined as a partner.

The brand is now stocked in Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.

James’ business has had a much rockier road, and he was said to have suffered a series of ‘unfortunate setbacks’ and lost £30,000 in the first six months of his IT recruitment company, Right Time Recruitment.

In December 2020, it was revealed that James and Lord Sugar had parted ways but he was still able to keep the money he received from the investement.

‘I wish James all the very best for the future and will follow his progress with interest,’ Lord Sugar said in a statement.

THE APPRENTICE 2024: MEET THE CANDIDATES

Amina Khan

Occupation: Pharmacist and Business Owner

Location: Ilford

Amina has been a qualified pharmacist for over a decade, in which time she has created a successful skincare and supplements business.  

Flo Edwards

Occupation: Recruitment Consultant

Location: London

Flo revealed that she started her own consultancy, making her ready to tackle Lord Sugar. 

Foluso Falade

Occupation: Project Manager

Location: Manchester

Foluso brands herself the ‘Mary Poppins of business’ and revealed that her aim is to run the first Social Enterprise to win Lord Sugar’s investment.

Maura Rath

Occupation: Owner, Yoga Company

Location: Wexford

Maura is taking the edge as a yoga teacher into her appearance. 

Noor Bouziane

Occupation: Owner, Jewellery Company

Location: Liverpool

Ambitious owner of a premium jewellery company Noor professed that she will generate a wealth of cash for Lord Sugar thanks to the unique nature of her business. 

Onyeka Nweze

Occupation: Chartered Company Secretary

Location: London

Onyeka revealed her plan is to be the first tech business investment made by Lord Sugar in eighteen series.

Rachel Woolford

Occupation: Boutique Fitness Studio Owner

Location: Leeds

Business-minded from a very young age, Rachel has plenty of experience managing her work independently. As well as her hard work in the office, she also shares her fitness triumphs on social media including running the New York Marathon in 2019. 

Raj Chohan

Occupation: Mortgage Broker

Location: Leamington Spa

Raj admits that while she is a grafter, she is determined to have fun while working – as illustrated on her fun-filled Instagram account. A self-confessed ‘dog with a bone’ when meeting her targets, she wants to hit a gap in the market and will do whatever it takes for success.

Sam Saadet

Occupation: Pre and Post Natal Fitness Coach

Location: Essex

Sam revealed her friends call her a real Del Boy for being ‘part-wheeler dealer’ as well as her eye for a bargain. An online fitness coach with a focus on mums and mums-to-be, she’s hoping to prove her business brain to Lord Sugar.

 Dr. Asif Munaf

Occupation: Owner, Wellness Brand

Location: Sheffield

Asif boldly describes himself as ‘Beauty, brains, body and business’ on his CV. The qualified doctor’s business plan focuses on vitamins and supplements.

Jack Davies

Occupation: Recruitment Director

Location: Bristol

As well as his work as a recruitment director, Jack also acts as a food reviewer, meaning he is ready with diverse knowledge and skills for challenges.

Oliver Medforth

Occupation: Sales Executive

Location: Yorkshire

Oliver’s background in selling at markets has him looking forward to the famous sales tasks. He is often seen plugging his wares on social media – particularly his gin range. 

Paul Bowen

Occupation: Director, Pie Company

Location: Lancashire

One of two pie company experts entering the process, Paul prides his business on big name clients such as Manchester City Football Club.

Dr. Paul Midha

Occupation: Owner, Dental Group

Location: Leeds

Paul started his practice using every resource he had. Used to extensive learning from studying as a dentist, Paul is set on Lord Sugar’s investment and all that he can teach him about the world of business.

Phil Turner

Occupation: Owner, Pie Company

Location: Bognor Regis

Phil was awarded ‘Supreme Pie Champion’ in 2020 for his family-owned pie business, which dates back to the 1930s. He’s hoping to prove himself to Lord Sugar and start making him some real dough.

Steve Darken

Occupation: Management Consultant

Location: London

Steve claims that he shares Lord Sugar’s sharp mind and sense of humour. Consulting for ‘some of the biggest companies in the world’, he’s ready to take on the boardroom.

Tre Lowe

Occupation: Music & Wellness Entrepreneur

Location: London

Tre has had his previous tastes of fame, including in the UK garage band named Architechs. His Instagram account is a who’s who of the showbiz world, including snaps with Simon Cowell and Emily Ratajkowski. 

Virdi Singh Mazaria

Occupation: Music Producer

Location: Leicester

DJ Virdi wants to introduce Lord Sugar to world he’s yet to invest in – music. His life is certainly filled with luxury as he shares frequent snaps on flash holidays and in front of pricey motors. 

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