The Apprentice Series 8, Episode 12 – Final!!!

Who will win Sugar’s £250,000 investment?

No time for resting as Nick and Jade sit down after last week’s task and the phone rings immediately. Tom, glass of wine in hand, leisurely walks over to answer the phone and it’s Sugar wanting a chat! He tells them that they have 2 days to put together their business plan which will win them the grand prize that they have all been working towards, except Nick, who claims that he forgot all about it. The finalists all head off their separate ways in the house to bash out their new plans on their laptops. Ricky Martin has drawn the short straw and works outside in the globe thing in the garden that we saw for the first time last week.

The candidates arrive at New Broad Street House, which is something to do with the Institute of Directors. This links to the final as Sugar tells the final 4 that they could be directors of their own company, which is a bit of a lame link. He then asks each finalist to summarise their business plan. Nick’s combines technology with grocery shopping, Tom’s is a hedge fund for wine, Jade wants to create the UK’s largest telemarketing call centre/nuisance and Ricky Martin blusters on about an ethical, professional service with the mention of drugs thrown in. No one understands this. It soon transpires that he is wanting to create a recruitment agency for jobs in science and pharmaceuticals.

 
Business plans in hand…
Interviewers include Mike Soutar, who is an award winning magazine man, who learns that Tom has never  had a job interview before; Margaret Mountford, who points out that Nick likes to use the word “intelligence” a lot in his application; Matt Riley, former Young Entrepreneur of the Year and inventor of the ridiculous elevator pitch last year, who tells Ricky Martin that when he opened his app form he felt “sick”. Good start. Oh and the infamous Claude Littner, who hates everything and everyone, and wastes no time in telling Jade that she has a “grubby little business” and attacks her CV. Jade’s plan is based on those people who cold-call you constantly trying to sell you things that you don’t want…so I kinda side with Claude on this one.

Tom asks Ricky Martin and Nick how they rate Jade’s chances out of 10. Answer: 2 or 3. Things don’t get any better for Jade as she is chastised for not including a cash flow or balance sheet within her plan. Claude yells, “WHERE ARE YOUR COSTS?!” and Jade unwisely explains that Sugar’s investment covers all that. Claude is not happy that Jade will seemingly spend all of the £250,000 in a mere 6 months. Afterwards, Jade states that she wants a drink.

Ricky Martin gets the joy of hearing Margaret read his application back to him, including the phrase, “Lord Sugar is a business god…I am Thor”. Ricky Martin babbles on about how Thor was descended from the heavens and how he is the next generation in a whole line of business gods – or digging a big Thor-shaped hole for himself. Margaret asks if Ricky sees himself as the reincarnation of Sugar (steady on, he is not dead yet!), and he answers that he wants to replicate certain elements of his career.

 
Margaret’s back! And she’s just heard Ricky Martin declare himself a god…I kid you not

Nick is told by Claude that his plan is good…for a university project. The idea is to be able to enter a TV recipe in his software, which will find the ingredients on an online grocery site, for which Claude’s response is, “Do I care?” Outside, Ricky Martin is explaining that Nick has to be careful – his plan seems very complex and he had to avoid “patronising” the interviewers. Nick’s new tactic is to tell Claude that he is not the target market and that his website can be as big as Google or Facebook, and then is told to “Dream on.” Nick likens his experience with Claude to a “warzone”.

 
Clearly, it’s not love but business that is a battlefield for Nick

Matt/Mike (I got confused…one of the other people who aren’t Margaret or Claude) tells Tom that he has a great reference…from his dad. Nothing like relying on friends and family to give a good word on your behalf. Matt/Mike attempts to rile Tom by accusing him of getting his dad to write the plan (it seems too “sophisticated”) and calling him a “Daddy’s Boy”. Nothing can rile Tom.  I cannot imagine him getting riled into an angry frenzy, just mildly annoyed.

Matt/Mike is telling Nick that he doesn’t care about finding the best ingredients for his Shepherd’s Pie (well if he ends up with only a cauliflower and a stick of celery he only has himself to blame) and that no one plans their meal (which is a big generalisation to make…no one? Has this been checked?) Nick still maintains that there is a good market for his website. Matt/Mike then points out that Nick’s current multi-million making business (something to do with barcodes) is doing well and questions why Nick is here trying to gain investment for his stupid idea? And does this mean that Nick isn’t focused enough? Nick bits back saying that success is more important than focus, but easily gives in when Matt/Mike tells him that he is wrong. Nick, ever the wordsmith, surmises, “I need to focus…er…on focus.”

Matt/Mike manages to wheedle out the answer to the most important question of the series – why has Ricky Martin chosen to call himself Ricky? Is it because he is a big fan of the singer? Ricky Martin doesn’t admit to being a big fan of his music, instead claiming that it is good for sales as it helps to make an impression on the customers, mainly because the customer is laughing at his name in their head. We also learn that Ricky Martin’s real wrestling name is Ricky Hype, or The Fitness: Ricky Hype, admittedly not as good a name as Ricky Martin, and Matt/Mike wonders if he cannot separate the showbiz side from the business side. Matt/Mike then asks if Ricky Martin wanted a client to imagine him in lycra pants. This is classic displacement theory – Matt/Mike has clearly been thinking about Ricky Martin in lycra pants during the whole interview.

Here is a sob story for the show: Nick had an “unconventional childhood”. Living in Switzerland, he mainly did outdoor activities and he didn’t have a TV. NO TV!? The whole world is weeping for him – Clearly he must win the show because he didn’t have a TV. (Well no one seems to be going for his business idea, so sob story might be a better plan of attack)

Matt/Mike asks Jade, self-proclaimed “incredible businesswoman”, about her business qualifications. She admits that she studied graphic design with a business module. Matt/Mike calls her out – there was no business module, but Jade does have a Business A-Level…at N grade. Jade claims to  have forgotten this, somewhat conveniently, and is left feeling red-faced.

Tom calls himself BNOC (Big Name on Campus) with Margaret suggesting that the N could stand for something else (suggestions on a postcard please!). Sure it’s no “Ricky Martin” and nowhere near as catchy…BNOC…Hmm…Anyway, BNOC plans to raise £25million investment for wine – a big amount of money and he has little experience with hedge funds. Claude tells him that he is “too young”. Tom rate Claude 2 out of 10.

Ricky Martin, not wanting to use a cliché, declares himself as a “sledgehammer to the brick wall of other businesses”. YEAH! WITNESS THE FITNESS!

Jade mentions that she has bought 4 website domains as part of her plan of nuisance calling. Matt/Mike corrects her, she doesn’t own www.chooseyourenergysupplier.co.uk. In fact Matt/Mike found out that no one owns it, and either feeling spiteful/bored/having too much time and money on his hands bought the site. Jade is shocked and remarks that “I’ll have to buy it off you!” You have to wonder what she bought instead then if she is adamant she bought all 4…

Claude mentions that he has been looking forward to meeting Ricky Martin – an “enigma”. Is he that complex? Claude mentions that his personal statement is the worst he has ever read, which is an impressive achievement, as Claude doesn’t like anything. Highlights include: “I’m the best business partner on the planet” (“on the PLANET?” Claude stresses) and that Ricky would like to “teach an old dog new tricks”. Claude rants about how this is disrespectful to Sugar, and Ricky is full of remorse. Claude labels him an “arrogant fool” BUT he actually likes Ricky Martin’s business idea and thinks that it is well written, which is even more of an impressive achievement! He poses a question about whether the poor economy means that it is bad timing for Ricky to start his business, but Ricky convinces him that there is a huge market for his agency, and Claude seems impressed. This is surely a good sign…

Tom has no qualifications or experience with hedge funds. Matt/Mike deems this high risk, and Tom says that he plans to use Sugar’s name to attract interest for his hedge fund plan.

Margaret points out that Jade has had a lot of jobs within a short space of time. Ricky Martin impresses Claude again with his plan to start his business small and then develop it to suit other areas of recruitment and Tom declares, “I’ve never let anyone down in my life and I won’t!” Big words there.

Interviews done and dusted, Nick is convinced that his business is unique (it’s ok but sounds too ambitious, everyone hates his idea so he has no chance of winning), Jade thinks her business will make money (interview wise she hasn’t impressed, her plan doesn’t seem well thought out and the actual business itself….er well, I’m not a fan of people cold calling you to sell stuff…), Tom thinks he is in pole position (everyone tells him that he is too young and inexperienced, which could cost him the prize, otherwise he has a good business plan, not very interesting but promises big rewards if successful…and that is a big IF) and Ricky Martin claims he is “destined not to be a shrinking violet…I’M GONNA FIGHT!”. Yeah!!! Ricky’s plan is well thought out and although not exactly riveting, it seems solid and capable of delivering good results. He has coped well with interviews and he is the best all around candidate out of the 4. I am still backing Ricky Martin for the win!

Sugar has a chat with the interviewers…immediately he states that he is old and doesn’t want something that involves hard work. Does this count out Tom and Nick then?

Jade: Good saleswoman and background, but business a bit rubbish. Nick Hewer questions ability to run a business.

Ricky Martin: Talks a lot of rubbish, especially in his app form, but plan is simple and Ricky is passionate about it. Lots of potential, and the best line comes from Claude:

“I had a sleepless night with excitement thinking about how to rip him to shreds,” but in the end, “I was mesmerized” by Ricky. Move over Tricky…it’s er C-Ricky…or Cricky.

Margaret warns that Ricky Martin could say something silly in a business situation. I thought that was a good thing about him!

Nick: good at technology but he is too over-optimistic of his idea.

Tom: seen as a “gambler” who has lived a “charmed existence” (Sugar cracks a joke that Tom supports West Ham so he is far from charmed…tch). Karren points out that when she was 23 she was running Birmingham football club so stop calling Tom too young to do his business. Sugar says he likes risks but not with other people’s money. Potential but over ambitious.

 
One of these four will be the next Tom Pellerau!!!

WHO WILL WIN?

Sugar is concerned that Jade’s business will generate bad publicity for him. Tom’s idea is described as something that could easily fail. Ricky Martin’s comment that he is the “burning successor to Lord Sugar” is met with the response that Sugar needs to inform his children. Ricky Martin that his app shows that he came into the process with a lot of bravado and throughout the show, he has changed into a serious businessman (with the same name as the singer). Apparently, he has also allocated funds for the 4th year Christmas Party, which shows that he is meticulous if anything. Sugar seems delighted too. Ricky has the experience and the academic background to run his business. Nick’s business idea is pretty much shot down – apparently, no one wants to plan their meals.

Sugar says Tom’s plan is risky and doesn’t want to be linked to is in case it all fails miserably. He then recounts when everyone wanted Nick to be on their team, which apparently shows that he was good on the tasks but his plan is a bit of a mess. Ricky Martin, or “Ricky Ratchet-Jaws” as he calls him (another new name?!) has a credible plan. Sugar calls Jade “enthusiastic”, which we have often seen in this series to represent that a candidate is a bit rubbish (re: Adam) and she is the first to be fired, quickly followed by Nick (too much hard work and not likely to make much money).

Like an angel on one shoulder, and the devil on the other (you can decide which is which), Nick Hewer asks Sugar if he wants a “pedestrian recruitment business or one last hurrah?” whilst Karren reminds him that Ricky Martin has the knowledge and experience to make his business a certain success.

 
The final two…

Ricky Martin admits that he wouldn’t invest in Tom’s hedge-fund as he hates win but he apologises to Tom, telling him that he is a “fantastic person” (Tricky!) as they look at each other and share a smile. Ultimately, it comes down to “Safety or devilment [a made up word surely]” and Sugar plumps for safety and hires Ricky Martin. He wins! And together they will be a “powerful force to be reckoned with” according to Ricky Martin.

 
“A powerful force to be reckoned with…”

I backed him to win at the start for joke reasons but other the course of the series, I have been backing him to win because he has actually demonstrated the skills to be successful in business. He is a worthy winner but the sadness is that he is going to give up his wrestling as a result. Whilst the wrestling world mourns, will the recruitment world gladly receive Ricky Martin and his new business? Only time will tell…