From “wheeler dealers” to Gin and Tonic tycoons, meet the 18 candidates from across the UK who will be vying for Lord Sugar’s attention in series 18 of The Apprentice.
Sugar will return to the boardroom alongside Baroness Karren Brady and Tim Campbell MBE. The newly inducted entrepreneurs will be thrown straight into the deep end, going to the Scottish Highlands in episode one to put on corporate “high-end away days.” Across the rest of the series, the teams will be tasked with everything from marketing children’s cereal and virtual escape rooms, as well as some away days of their own - to Jersey and Budapest.
With several health-centred businesses and two pie companies, let’s meet the 18 contestants hoping to return home with Lord Sugar as a business partner…
Pharmacist and Business Owner
Khan built her skincare and supplement business from a base level of zero: no historic business acumen, no investment, and none of the all-important social media followers. Khan is hoping Lord Sugar will save her skin…care business to help her dominate the continuously growing market.
Dr. Asif Munaf
Owner, Wellness Brand
You may recognise Munaf from Dragon’s Den, an experience he describes as his “biggest business failure to date.” Munaf’s CV says he has “beauty, brains, body and business” - presumably referring to his vitamins and supplements company.
Some quick-fire Flo facts: she started her own consultancy; she makes mistakes – but never the same one twice; equality, diversity and inclusion are important in her business; and she’s taught her dog how to close a door.
Let’s hope she doesn’t think she can teach The Apprentice’s old dog any new tricks.
Falade refers to herself as the “Mary Poppins of business”, meaning she either has a very large bag, a magical umbrella, or she dedicates herself to helping young people get a head start in business (Falade claims it is the latter).
Davies runs a popular “food review page on social media”, which he wastes no time plugging in his entrance interview. Alongside posting “Nando’s hacks” on Instagram, he is also a high-flying recruitment director, who achieved five promotions in seven years – his work ethic is what he thinks will get him Lord Sugar’s attention.
Owner, Yoga Company
Rath owns a yoga company which she believes can make positivity and well-being “profitable and scalable.” So far, she has had reviews from clients that it gives them “a little bubble of self-love”
, and “helps them through the winter months.” Rath gets through the winter months herself by going full Wim Hof and jumping in the Irish sea.
Owner, Jewellery Company
Bouziane began her jewellery company at age 20, running it independently. Now being one of the youngest competitors going through the process, she believes Lord Sugar should go with her accessory business because it “generates a lot of money […] compared to other candidates.”
Medforth is a co-owner of his family’s gin business, which owns five retail shops for their Yorkshire based distillery across the UK. Along with their gin, they also provide a tonic to pair with it (aptly named Yorkshire Tonic), the creation of which he credits as one of his biggest business successes to date.
Chartered Company Secretary
Nweze enters the competition with a tech company – a stark contrast to this year’s jewellery companies, supplement sellers and consultants. If Sugar goes with her, it’ll be his very first tech investment in all 18 series.
Director, Pie Company
There are not one but two pie tycoons entering the competition this year. Both pie proprietors share their first initial, the product of their family owned businesses, and their desire for a big investment. What sets Bowen apart from his rival is that his pastries have fed Manchester City FC for the last five years - and he’s made up a fun pun, claiming he can make Alan Sugar “Lord of the Pies.”
Owner, Pie Company
Like our previous contestant, Turner’s Pie company is family owned, but dates back to 1930. Turner took over the business in his early 20s and transformed it into a ‘supreme Pie Champion’ winning pie shop. Eat your heart out Paul Bowen.
Dr. Paul Midha
Owner, Dental Group
This isn’t Midha’s first go at being on television – he suffered an unsuccessful Britain’s Got Talent audition. Not for his dentistry, but for his “proficiency in body-popping.” After opening his own dental practice, Midha thinks he has what it takes to be Lord Sugar’s newest business partner.
Boutique Fitness Studio Owner
Woolford began her business during covid. Despite the difficult timing, she felt that opening a fitness studio with “restrictions and limitations” in place actually allowed her to create “a strong community of clients.”
Chohan describes herself as a “dog with a bone” when it comes to business, recently having been awarded Mortgage Broker of the Year in 2023. Her personal goals include becoming a multi-millionaire by the age of 50, and to be “the UK’s leading lady within the bridging world of finance.”
Pre and Post Natal Fitness Coach
The mum of two launched her app for her pre and post-natal fitness business whilst looking after her young kids – something she described as her biggest success in business to date. Saadet’s friends describe her as “part-wheeler dealer,” and she describes herself as the “savviest, go-getting woman she knows.”
Despite his Bond villain-esque name, Darken claims he shares Lord Sugar’s “sense of humour”, proving this when asked “what is your biggest business fail?” to which he responds “I fail… to remember a significant one” – classic word play and comedy timing that will serve him well in some boardroom bants.
Music and Wellness Entrepreneur
Tre Lowe is one half of 00s UK garage band Architechs. After having to give up DJing due to severe tinnitus, Lowe started his personal training and well-being business. Lowe would love to be included in the Britannica Encyclopaedia volumes, “alongside the likes of Galileo, Newton and Tesla.” Well, you know what they say… shoot for the moon!
Virdi Singh Mazaria
Mazaria has DJ’d worldwide from the age of 18, produced music for prominent Punjabi musicians, and worked as an auditor for “one of the big four.” Although Lord Sugar’s investment is a firm goal of Mazaria’s, another quest of his is to star in a Marvel movie… as one of the Avengers.
Series eighteen of The Apprentice will air on Thursday 1 February at 9.00pm on BBC One and iPlayer.
All pictures credited to BBC/ Naked