I worked with Lord Sugar and here’s what he REALLY like: The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur reveals why she parted ways with the businessman
Dubbed ‘the ultimate job interview’ The Apprentice candidates are subjected to a gruelling two-month process, with the goal to impress Lord Alan Sugar and bag a £250,000 investment in their business.
Over the years, winners have gone on to launch many successful businesses as a result of their work with Lord Sugar.
However, not everyone has continued to work alongside the magnate, with the likes of Joseph Valente, Alana Spencer, Sian Gabbidon and James White all parting ways with Lord Sugar.
Last year’s winner Harpreet Kaur is the latest entrepreneur to have cut ties, announcing in August that she had bought back her shares in bakery business, Oh So Yum!, just 18 months after winning the show.
Now, in an exclusive interview with MailOnline, Harpreet, 32, has revealed exactly why she decided to part ways as well as revealing an insight into the real nature of Lord Sugar.
End of an era: The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur has revealed why she parted ways with Lord Sugar just 18 months after he invested £250,000 in her desserts business Oh So Yum!
Speaking about Lord Sugar’s nature as a person she confessed: ‘What you see is what you get. Business is business.’
Addressing the spiky nature of the businessman that viewers so often see on The Apprentice she explained: ‘If you want investment for your business you have to take criticism.
‘You get lots of feedback because the investor is testing you to see if you’re a tough cookie and you can handle these questions because if you can’t handle a little bit of criticism in the boardroom, you’ve got no chance in in the real world of business.
‘He’s just asking those harsh questions that you would have to face in reality.
‘I acknowledged that none of it is ever personal, he just want to find out a little bit more about you and your business.’
She added that while she doesn’t really speak to Lord Sugar anymore, noting that he’s a ‘very busy guy’, she still has a good relationship with his team.
‘If I did need anything in the future, it’s good to know that we’ve got a good relationship and I’m sure if I needed to I could pick up the phone,’ she said of his advisers and team.
Harpreet’s win last year was controversial, with Lord Sugar voicing concerns over the ‘scalable’ nature of her business, and that she ran her business with her sister – who Lord Sugar had not met.
As a result her sister Gurvinder became the joke of Internet memes during the show’s final after viewers believed she would be sacked from the company and replaced as a shareholder by Lord Sugar.
Businesswoman: Harpreet said that by appearing on The Apprentice last year she achieved what she’d set out to do for her business, which was give it a national platform
Two of a kind: Harpreet’s win last year was controversial, with Lord Sugar voicing concerns that she ran her business with her sister Gurvinder (pictured) who he had not met
Yet Harpreet has revealed that her sister Gurvinder’s involvement had no bearing on her decision to part ways with Lord Sugar and she was still able to remain a director and own a stake in the company.
Discussing how the split came to be, she told MailOnline that the decision was ‘completely amicable and mutual’ but allowed her and her sister to have more creative control in the business.
‘The decision came about through a board discussion,’ she explained. ‘We are asked would we like to kind of take that ownership and buy back our shares but there are definitely no bad feelings.’
Harpreet – who is engaged to her The Apprentice co-star Akshay Thakrar – added that by appearing on the BBC show she achieved what she’d set out to do for her business, which was give it a national platform.
READ MORE: Where are The Apprentice winners now?
Revealing that she’d been approached on the street by viewers who had asked her about Oh So Yum! she added: ‘We may only have been with Lord Sugar for a short period but it benefited us.’
Offering advice to future candidates on The Apprentice, she said: ‘You have to be prepared to put that groundwork in. Winning an investment isn’t a magic formula.
‘Nobody’s going to hold your hand and you have to work extremely hard, there can be a lot of pressure.
‘You have to be willing to take on that pressure, take on the feedback and take on board someone else’s ideas and opinions, so I think you just have to be prepared.
‘There’s no hiding. With The Apprentice, I think one of the reasons that I got as far as I did is because I fully invested in myself.’
Since winning the show, Harpreet has gone on to open another Oh So Yum! parlour in Bradford and also sealed a deal with luxury department store Selfridges.
She has also just collaborated with the Hilton hotel group, with Oh So Yum! launching its debut six-flavour Cookie Cup collaboration with the Hilton London Metropole, now available in-house at the Tyburn Market restaurant
Speaking about the move, Harpreet said: ‘There’s nothing sweeter than seeing our Cookie Cups available to buy at Hilton London Metropole – it’s truly a dream collaboration and to have the opportunity to work alongside such an iconic hotel is incredible.
‘I’m really pleased about because I feel like if a brand like Hilton recognizes the of what we do, we must be doing something, right.
‘The journey Oh So Yum! has been on so far has already been phenomenal, but this marks a very exciting new chapter and I couldn’t be more thrilled.’
Cute couple: As well as walking away from The Apprentice with a £250,000 investment she also met her fiancé Akshay Thakrar (pictured) who was fired in week nine of the process
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