The Apprentice: Triple firing as Lottie Lion, Pamela Laird and Lewis Ellis are sent home in the semi final

Isobel Frodsham
PA

This week The Apprentice candidates said goodbye to the tasks and instead the spotlights turned on to their business proposals.

Claude Littner, Linda Plant, Mike Soutar and Claudine Collins scrutinised the business proposals of Carina Lepore, Lewis Ellis, Lottie Lion, Pamela Laird and Scarlett Allen-Hornton before feeding back to Lord Alan Sugar.

While each flaws of the businesses were exposed, it was Ellis, Lion and Laird who got the boot this week by Lord Sugar, whittling down the final two to Lepore and Allen-Hornton.

So, what did they think of their time on the show?

Pamela Laird

(PA)

Age: 30

Business: Moxi Loves

Best bit of the show?

"I kind of have two. If had to pick a task, I would say toys because that gave me an opportunity to really showcase my talent. So, inventing something, bringing it to market, pitching to a retailer. That whole journey through that task, I felt like I really was able to showcase my skills.

"But then I have to say, even though I didn't make it, and it was a hard episode, the final five in a way was a highlight because I really got my brand to do the talking and that is where I'm most comfortable, with that at the forefront. So between those two, they're the two I enjoyed the most."

Worst bit?

"I'm torn because perfume was just a disaster. I still shiver watching that episode back. If I had hindsight it would be great to go back and do it again. The discount buying [in Cambridge and Oxford] I was not a fan of it either, that was just chaotic. Those two are my worst moments for sure."

Lewis, Riyonn and Pamela in Cambridge (BBC / Boundless)

How did it feel not making it to the final two?

"As soon as it was narrowed down to the final three, I really felt like I was on a complete par with the girls.

"Carina and Scarlett have both been unbelievable in this competition. They have excelled extremely well, but their businesses are both in profit. They're both successful. And I thought, look, there's three businesses here, including mine, that are all successful. So whatever happens I won't take it personally because they're different industries. How can you compare beauty, bakery and recruitment?

"Naturally I'm gutted, I didn't feel defeated because they were so amazing anyway. But you really want your ambassador to be excited and your business partner to be on board, so it was a perfect time to go if I wasn't the right fit for him [Lord Sugar]."

How was it having your business plans scrutinised by Lord Sugar’s advisers?

"It was really tough, I was prepared for it to be as hard as it was. But on the flip side, I got so much insight into areas that I'd overlooked or things that were wrong.

"As an entrepreneur, you don't often get constructive feedback when you're doing something. You get told you're great or you just don't hear back from people. Whereas this was an opportunity to get four amazing, accomplished, business people to do a helicopter view of your business and point out your faults, which I think you just have to take on the chin, take on board and understand they want you to succeed. There is constructive feedback within the slating.

"One of the things that I got told the most was that I only had two products. So very proud to say today we launched our third so that was huge feedback I took on board. The product is a dry shampoo sheet which is eco friendly, biodegradable and vegan."

Pamela and Jemelin Artigas (BBC / Boundless)

What did you think of the advisers?

"You know, they're all incredible in their own right. I think that they all have a different style of interviewing. Claudine was more personable, she had me in tears at the mention of my mum. Mike is very straight to the point but I quite appreciate his upfrontness. And there's no doubt Linda obviously delves very, very deep. You always want to impress Claude. I just wanted him to like me."

Did you agree with what they said and did?

"I definitely agreed that I should have more products in the line to be more investable, and that is my priority. It was nice to hear that and go, that's my next step."

How did you find Lord Sugar during your time on the show?

"He's extremely intimidating but at the same time, I have a lot of admiration for him. He has such a massive presence when he walks into the room. It's not an act that he has on the show, that's him when the cameras are off. He's still the same. He doesn't have to do this show. He doesn't need to, but he does."

There’s been a lot of off screen drama this year within the contestants, how has this affected your time on the show?

"It isn't nice to see a lot of negativity and I guess I'm just lucky and blessed that I wasn't involved in any of it and quite honestly, I had such the opposite experience.

I've made a best friend in Carina, I made really good friends with the other candidates. We're all still in touch. For me it's such a positive time."

Dean and Pamela shocked at the team's branding reveal for the perfume task (BBC / Boundless)

Do you regret going on it at all?

"Not at all, I'm really thankful for the the opportunity and proud of how far I came. I did not pack enough clothes to make it to the final five and the interview!"

If you could change one thing about your time on the show, what would it be?

"Putting Lewis on the packaging team [for the perfume task]."

How has being on it helped you since?

"Getting meetings and things like that. It's definitely a door opener, there's no doubt. I'm really hoping it helps me find an ambassador because that is my number one goal. The platform is amazing and in my industry, I understand TV and social media plays a huge part in brand awareness. But for me if I can find an ambassador off the back of the show, I would be delighted."

(BBC / Boundless)

What is next for you?

"Since the show, we're launching into Primark UK and launching into Boots UK next year. I want to also grow the range - that was the main feedback that I got from Lord Sugar and Claude, but obviously you know, having a business partner having cash flow would help. And then expansion across the UK."

Rate your experience out of 10.

"10."

Lewis Ellis

(PA)

Age: 29

Business: Hiddn Travel

Best bit of the show?

"The support I think from everyone around me. My friends, family and everyone in my area they don't really know what I get up to, they just see me as the guy around the house or whatever. But whenever I'm working, I'm smashing it and I'm trying to do something different. Now it's public, everyone's like, 'oh, I didn't realise you did that.' So that's been quite nice."

Worst bit?

"Probably having to wake up to a camera in your face. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I'm not a good looking morning person, I'm barely a normal looking day time person. They kept catching me. I think every start of the show was me yawning."

How did it feel not making it to the final two?

"I'd like to say I'm sad for not getting the investment but I'm really not. I'm really happy where I got to. I knew that with a startup company, I probably wouldn't be the most successful candidate but I wanted to have the opportunity to pitch our business.I wanted to have the opportunity to sit in front of the world and say, this is who I am, this is what I'm trying to achieve."

Lewis works on the branding for the perfume task (BBC / Boundless)

How was it having your business plans scrutinised by Lord Sugar’s advisers?

"It's difficult because to us It's not just a business plan, it's our hopes, dreams and aspirations. This is quite scary. If you if you tell your hopes and dreams to somebody, and they say something negative about it, you can get quite hurt by it. We're not just doing it to the advisers as well, there are millions of people that are going to take the piss on Twitter. But I think it takes a very strong person to put themselves out there to the public, and in front of professionals whose job it is to tear it apart. It's a hard gig full stop."

What did you think of the advisers?

"They were all great - they were all very different in their approach and what they were looking for. I found it really interesting to see the differences in them all. I wasn't scared but I knew it was going to be difficult. And it was. It was far more intense than what you see on the show - we were filming for hours, you only see an hour of it."

Did you agree with what they said and did?

"Yes apart from two things - one was that they said I was trying to relive my youth, which if I was trying to do I'd go work abroad. I'm trying to build a career from what I'm passionate about. They were also concerned about my experience - while yes I don't have experience as a tour operator, I've worked abroad for so many years now and worked a lots of different resorts alongside lots of different companies that I have an appreciation of what's involved behind the scenes. I dealt with customers day to day to help them with their holidays, build their experiences and be as happy as they can be."

Has it changed your plans for your business?

"I used Croatia as an example to launch the first resort and I went to visit it and I think it's too much of a party place, I'm not trying to do that here. I'm creating a completely premium, amazing, Instagrammable holiday. A getaway you aspire to be a part of because you know it's unique. So I've gone back and looked at different destinations and things to do, like yoga retreats and fitness boot camps."

Lewis speaks to Linda Plant (BBC / Boundless)

How did you find Lord Sugar during your time on the show?

"Most of what you see on tv is what you get, we get an extended version of that. He's tenacious, he's focused, he'll call you out on crap. He doesn't have much patience for waffle."

There’s been a lot of off screen drama this year within the contestants, how has this affected your time on the show?

"It's made it hella fun, it's never a boring day. I find it interesting. It's not really drama, it's just candidates being candidates. This year we've been a bit more public with it, I think. We involve people in what's happening in our world. And why shouldn't we? When people watch the show they want to be part of it. They want to feel as though they they've seen the real us. That's what we do, we all share our stories, we all talk and we all communicate as well. We want the viewers to be behind us.

I'm not pro the fights. If someone wants to challenge you, let them challenge you. It is what it is. It is us publicly going on a tv show and competing for something. Obviously you're going to have arguments. People will still argue on Twitter but no one cares."

Do you regret going on it at all?

"Not at all. It's completely changed my life. I don't know what is happening next and I like that feeling. I don't like routine, I don't like to be part of the norm. I think that this has opened doors - there are people who are connected to me now that I would never previously met. There are opportunities I'm getting involved in, like talking students, public speaking events and inspiring other people to chase their goals. That wouldn't have been there without the show."

Lewis with Riyonn, Kenna and Thomas in the ice lolly challenge (BBC)

If you could change one thing about your time on the show, what would it be?

"The perfume box, it was s***."

How has being on it helped you since?

"It's forced me to do my five year plan. I was waiting until I got some money but now I think, why the hell am I waiting? I'm telling people to just chase that dream for one foot in front of the other and I wasn't doing that. So, it's forced me to start now. I want to look back in five years and say, look how far I've come."

What is next for you?

"I'm going to keep working full time in marketing but I'd like to have my first tour this summer. I'm currently putting the pieces together so I can put it up for sale in the next few months. It is a massive challenge but why would I wait? I've found a business partner, I've incorporated it and it's all real."

Rate your experience out of 10.

"10."

Lottie Lion was not available for an interview.

The Apprentice final airs on Wednesday, December 13 2019 at 9pm on BBC One.

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