The Apprentice 2016: The final

Alana Spencer has been crowned Lord Sugar's latest business partner and awarded £250,000 investment. What made her business idea a winning one?

After a gruelling 11-week process, it was time for Alana and Courtney to face-off in the final of The Apprentice 2016 for a chance to win £250,000 investment and become Lord Sugar’s business partner.

The candidates were tasked with launching their businesses at city hall where they would pitch the concepts to Lord Sugar and a room of 200 industry experts. Alana pitched her bakery business Ridiculously Rich while Courtney presented the case for his online novelty products business Purple Whale.

Ultimately the winning business idea was judged to be Ridiculously Rich with Alana chosen as the 2016 winner as her business was judged as having greater potential for growth and profits, and for having a superior brand and business name to Courtney’s.

We take a closer look at what helped Alana take The Apprentice crown, with relevant business advice that you can take-away…


It became apparent there were problems with Courtney’s branding during testing at Westfield shopping centre. Members of the public didn’t think the name ‘Purple Whale’ or the company logo – which used the strap-line ‘little gifts, big impressions’ – gave a valid indication of what the company did.

On the flip side, Alana made her business idea stand out by using her namesake brand as the USP for Ridiculously Rich – a focus that she felt would make her business stand out from the competition; “What makes me different to all the other people out there? I genuinely believe that’s me”, Alana asserted.

These are 5 essential branding considerations you should think about when setting up a company.

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Business model

Alana’s strong pitch outlined her “three-pronged attack” business model; selling at events, in coffee shops and delicatessens,  and retailing in individual portions. Alana also highlighted the importance of associating her business with her home country of Wales, coupled with a focus on homemade, luxury quality. The aspiring female entrepreneur also proposed to keep the production of her products in Wales.

Pitching has never been Courtney’s strong point but he appeared more confident as he presented his business proposition; explaining the unique and quirky nature of his products and the name Purple Whale; chosen to “make the business stand out from the crowd” and partly because it sounded “a little random”. His sales strategy involved shifting a high volume of units by getting them into retailers and selling through his website.

Although Lord Sugar expressed a worry that Alana didn’t yet have the necessary skills set to scale up production from her mother’s kitchen to a nationwide brand, advisor Baroness Brady suggested that this is where Lord Sugar’s influence could really help.

Want to know what business models prove to be the most successful? Read our comprehensive overview of the top business models here.

Financial return

While Courtney was estimating higher turnover figures for his business, bakery entrepreneur Alana pointed out that her profits were “much higher” and boasted a larger profit margin- “Business, in my opinion is all about making as much profit as you can”.

Despite, Lord Sugar’s concerns that investing in Alana would be a gamble as he’d be going into “unfamiliar territory” – which had “previously lost him a lot of money” – Lord Sugar decided to go with his gut and chose Alana to be his new business partner.

Has The Apprentice inspired you to want to start a business? Download our free business plan template here and kickstart your start-up journey today.


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