BBC One prepares for The Apprentice 2014

Alan Sugar, BBC

The Apprentice returns later this month to BBC One with once again Lord Sugar and his advisors, Nick Hewer and Karren Brady putting a new group of candidates through the toughest business test going.

The tenth series will begin with a twist right from the start. Upping the ante this year, Lord Sugar will be testing the business know-how of not 16 but 20 potential business partners in the battle for his investment. There will also be two episodes in the first week back on air.

As usual the 20 candidates must compete to stay out of the firing line in a bid to win the £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar by proving their skills in sales, creativity, leadership, strategy and business insight in a series of testing tasks. They all think they have what it takes, but only one candidate can win the final battle for boardroom supremacy. This year’s budding business partners come from a diverse range of careers and backgrounds; from law and social care to marketing and management, and from fitness and fashion to accountancy and technology.

When Lord Sugar welcomes the candidates to the boardroom for the first time, he starts by revealing the key difference to this year’s process:

“Now, this is the tenth year that we have been in this boardroom, and so on this special occasion I’m going to start things off a little bit differently. What I’ve decided to do is to kick off with 20 candidates, 10 boys and 10 girls. That’s the good news. Here’s possibly not such good news. The process will still last 12 weeks. That means that on certain occasions I may decide to dispose of more than one candidate at a time. Be prepared.”

With more candidates being given the opportunity to compete for his investment, he then offers a few words of advice about the prize they are all striving for:

“This deal is all about getting a £250,000 injection into a company that both of us will own on a 50/50 basis. I won’t be working, you will be working. I will be advising and mentoring.”

Lord Sugar kicks off the series by splitting the candidates into two teams – girls vs boys. He challenges them to sell products which have all appeared in the first task of the last nine series including sausages, flowers, coffee and fruit. They are also given cash with which to add value to the products and can choose whether to sell the items directly to the public or in bulk to trade. With the aim of making as much money as possible, they must strategize carefully and plan their selling time wisely. But will the candidates prove they can better the last nine years of selling in this supersized sales task?

As the series progresses, the candidates will be put through their paces in a variety of challenging tasks. These include designing an innovative wearable technology product, creating an online video channel, running package coach tours, securing and fulfilling orders for a home fragrance range, manufacturing and selling a new board game and launching their own soft drinks brand.

Each task will, as always, be followed by a showdown in the boardroom. Which candidates will prove cut-throat competitors and who will play it safe? When the losing team returns to face Lord Sugar, who will find their mistakes have led them to hear the infamous words “You’re Fired!”?

The Apprentice returns on Tuesday 14th October  at 9pm on BBC One followed by an extra edition on Wednesday 15th October with following episodes airing on Wednesdays at 9pm.

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