Lord Sugar invests £250,000 in Apprentice winner’s nail file venture

Tom Pellereau wins series, despite his plans for office chair business finding little favour


Hampshire entrepreneur Tom Pellereau has won this year’s Apprentice and secured £250,000 investment from business tycoon Lord Sugar, who will become his business partner.

Pellereau secured the investment despite pitching a “flawed” business plan for a consultancy firm that makes and sells office chairs that prevents back pain.

Instead, Lord Sugar will be investing the money in Pellereau’s earlier business Stylfile. Pellereau launched Stylfile in 2005 after inventing a curved nail file, and managed to get his products on the shelves of major UK and US retailers, including Walmart and Boots.

In last night’s final, Pellereau fought off competition from rival contestants Helen Milligan, Susan Ma and Jim Eastwood – despite having lost eight of the 11 tasks on the show.

Each of the finalists took part in rigorous interviews by Lord Sugar’s former aide Claude Littner, Margaret Mountford, Mike Soutar, founder of ShortList Media and pioneer of Britain’s free magazine industry and Matthew Riley, the founder of telecoms firm Daisy and a Growing Business Young Gun of 2007, in which their business plans were scrutinised.

Under the deal, Pellereau and Lord Sugar will now launch a new range of other inventions that complement the nail file, while also continuing to boost sales of the existing product.

Pellereau said: “Lord Sugar and I will take a break and look through all the products and we’ll really spend some time to devise the business plan.

“I’m very much going to listen to him and I’ve also got a lot of other ideas that I’ve also presented which may well be coming through. So it’s a question of watch this space – but there will definitely be some very exciting products coming shortly.”

Meanwhile, Lord Sugar said: “I am a product man at heart. I’ve made products and sold them to retailers, that’s in my blood and that’s what Tom is all about. It’s just a gut feeling and I’ve done a lot of things in my life on gut feeling.”

 

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