Harrogate-born Leon Doyle to take on Lord Sugar to be the Apprentice

10 May 2011

It’s back. The same boss, the same boardroom but, there’s a twist; this time Lord Sugar is looking for a business partner and for the winning candidate there’s a £250k investment on the table….

The apprentice starts tonight (TUESDAY 10TH MAY), at 9pm on BBC One.

This year sees 26 year old Leon Doyle who was born in Harrogate and is now a fast food entrepreneur, competing to be  Sugar’s apprentice. This isn’t the first time Leon has been on Television, previously appearing on Dragons Dens where he pitched  his “Master Menu” idea for on-line ordering of takeaway food. At the age of 12, he survived a near fatal fall from a tree and has completed the Great North Run. Leon describes himself as ‘charming, genuine and honest’


From all corners of the country, Britain’s entrepreneurial elite have come to London to face the biggest challenge of their careers – embarking on a business battle over 12 tough tasks with multi-millionaire tycoon, Lord Sugar. Selected for their entrepreneurial flair and burning passion for business – Lord Sugar has spotted something in all of them but only one can succeed in proving they have the commercial acumen and business skill to be worthy of entering into a partnership with him as winner of The Apprentice 2011.

Injecting a new spin into the life-changing opportunity, this year’s successful Apprentice will no longer win a six figured salary job working in one of Lord Sugar’s businesses. Instead the winner and their business idea will found the basis of a partnership with Lord Sugar, with an investment to the value of £250,000.

Leon Doyle (Photo BBC/Talkback Thames)

Lord Sugar wastes no time in telling his potential business partners how the hunt for a new partnership will work:

“I’m going to inject £250,000 worth of cash and value into a business, your business, and you’re going to run it. And I say you’re going to run it because don’t expect me to be doing all the work because I’m not looking for a “sleeping” partner. I’m not Saint Alan, the patron saint of bloody losers… You can look at it as a bit of an uncivil partnership, so to speak.”

“I want you to treat this first task as if it’s your own business. Here’s something to note, this is an investment, and I want some return on my money.”

The candidates’ CVs reveal: an inventor, a business psychologist, a former cycling champion, an estate agent, an accountant and entrepreneurs in fields as varied as creative arts, organic skincare and fast food.

Episode one follows the candidates as they are split into two teams, each team being tasked to invest £250 in fresh fruit and vegetables in a battle to make the highest return. The candidates must buy the produce, add value to it and sell it to the public under the strict scrutiny of Nick and Karren. The decision of how to spend their money is theirs but only one factor will be considered in the first boardroom showdown – who has made the biggest return on Lord Sugar’s investment?

For these elite professionals it is make or break time in the most daunting challenges they will ever face. With gripping boardroom showdowns and determined candidates, this series promises to be the most intense and unpredictable yet.

(l-r – back row) Zoe Beresford, Jim Eastwood, Ellie Reed, Leon Doyle, Tom Pellereau, Edward Hunter, Vincent Disneur, Felicity Jackson, Glenn Ward, Edna Agbarha (l-r – front row) Melody Hossaini, Gavin Winstanley, Helen Milligan, Susan Ma, Alex Britez Cabral, Natasha Scribbins
(l-r – back row) Zoe Beresford, Jim Eastwood, Ellie Reed, Leon Doyle, Tom Pellereau, Edward Hunter, Vincent Disneur, Felicity Jackson, Glenn Ward, Edna Agbarha (l-r – front row) Melody Hossaini, Gavin Winstanley, Helen Milligan, Susan Ma, Alex Britez Cabral, Natasha Scribbins



Edna Agbarha

Age: 36

Occupation: Business Psychologist

Lives:  London

One of ten siblings, London born Edna rose from working life as a teenager on her uncle’s Covent Garden market stall to her first position as a Business Psychologist and coach. Edna holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology, two Masters degrees and enjoys cycling in her free time.

She says: “Weak people in business are a waste of space and a limp handshake is unforgiveable.”

Ellie Reed

Age: 33

Occupation: Managing Director – Construction Recruitment

Lives: Yorkshire

The Bradford born entrepreneur started her working life with a paper round and eventually went on to start a new business during a recession, playing a crucial role in helping the company become one of the most successful in its market. Golf lover Ellie describes herself as ‘positive, fun and driven’ and once chased a burglar out of her house at 17.

She says: “I don’t like lazy people… dole dossers that don’t want to work. I don’t like posh kids who have everything on a plate.”

Felicity Jackson

Age: 23

Occupation: Entrepreneur Creative Arts

Lives: London

Felicity worked at a hairdressers as a teenager before going into children’s entertainment and eventually setting up her own company specialising in career development for actors. An avid fan of soaps and a trained actress, Felicity compares herself to Kanya King and is inspired by the T-Mobile brand.

She says: “Lord Sugar will probably find it difficult to ever say anything negative to me because I always turn it round to a positive.”

Helen Louise Milligan

Age: 30

Occupation: Executive Assistant to CEO

Lives: Northumberland

Stockport born Helen describes herself as ‘calm, loyal and tenacious’ and enjoys reading in her free time. A keen swimmer, she studied Law at University and climbed the ranks from part time work as a waitress to managing a restaurant before landing her role as Executive Assistant to the CEO of Greggs bakery.

She says: “I see my job as my complete life. I work 24/7. There isn’t a cut off.”

Melody Hossaini

Age: 26

Occupation: Founder & Director – Global Youth Consultancy Business

Lives: Midlands

Born in Iran, Melody lived in four different countries before settling in the UK. Melody who speaks five languages, set up a renowned UK youth organisation at the age of 13 and has won the ‘Woman of the Future’ award for her voluntary work. Global Youth Sector Entrepreneur Melody has previously worked with 12 Nobel peace prize winners including Desmond Tutu, Dalai Lama, Sherin Ebadi and was trained on climate change by Al Gore.

She says: “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

Natasha Scribbins

Age: 31

Occupation: Divisional Manager – Recruitment

Lives: Taunton

German born Natasha achieved only five GCSEs but went on to graduate from University with a Bachelors Degree in International Hospitality Management. Happy to get her hands dirty Natasha worked cleaning the bakeries of a major retail chain at the age of 15 before venturing into business. An avid fitness fanatic, Natasha is inspired by the Nike brand for their representation of women in sport.

She says:”I’m like a really fine tuned switch. If I need to turn it down then I turn it down. If I need to turn it up then I turn it up.”

Susan Ma

Age: 21

Occupation: Natural Skincare Entrepreneur

Lives: Croydon

Born in Shanghai, adrenaline junkie Susan moved to Australia at the age of six before eventually settling in London aged 13. With her mum having no grasp of English, Susan succeeded in getting herself into a school despite her young age and went on to study Philosophy and Economics at University. She describes herself as ‘ambitious, optimistic and easy going’. Her first ever job was working on a market stall selling skin care products which she has now turned into a lucrative business.

She says: “I’m short, sweet and smiley but when I do business I mean business.”

Zoe Beresford

Age: 26

Occupation: Project Manager – Drinks Manufacturer

Lives: Cheshire

Born in Stoke on Trent, Zoe joined her family firm straight from university and played an integral role in the company’s development working in sales and marketing. Zoe, who bought a house with her sister at the age of just 12, describes her attitude as not ‘why’ but ‘why not’. Zoe was awarded the ‘Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Technology Prize’ for the highest dissertation mark in the school of engineering.

She says: “I will do whatever it takes to win.”


Alex Britez Cabral

Age: 28

Occupation: Estate Agent Manager

Lives: London

Motorbike enthusiast Alex who lived in Paris as a child, describes himself as ‘ambitious, driven, and extremely focused’. Born and raised in London, Alex’s first job was making tea in a small estate agents before becoming a thriving agent himself. His greatest achievement is taking a business losing money and turning it around to a fast growing profitable business within twelve months.

He Says: “Fear is a great motivator. If you are successful, you are unpopular, so unpopularity is a good thing.”

Edward Hunter

Age: 25

Occupation: Accountant

Lives: Reading

Half-British and half-Afghan, Reading born and raised Edward’s first job was as a gardener at the age of 12. He successfully applied for a role in a global professional services firm headquartered in London straight after university and was hired as Senior Associate in the audit team before becoming an accountant at a FTSE 30 energy company. Trained at one of the world’s leading accountancy firms, Edward describes himself as a ‘man with strength of character and conviction who is honest and direct’.

He Says: “I’m the wheeler dealer who accidentally became a finance professional and wants out.”

Gavin Winstanley

Age: 27

Occupation: Managing Director – Opticians

Lives: Liverpool

Gavin’s first foray into working life was as a salesman at a high street clothing store and was made a manager at the age of 16. A passionate football fan, Gavin started up his own online opticians, which now has two high-street stores, after noticing the profit margins on glasses when working in a London department store.

He Says: “I want to be a big name in UK business…..I’m everything. I’m all mouth. I’m a doer. I’m a leader.”

Glenn Ward

Age: 28

Occupation: Senior Design Engineer

Lives: Hertfordshire

Glenn Ward took apart and rebuilt an entire computer aged 8 and his entrepreneurial streak ensued when he began washing cars in his local area at age 14. An amateur footballer, Glenn cites Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as his inspiration and describes himself as ‘an intelligent man with a dry sense of humour’ who can ‘read between the lines’.

He Says: “Aggression isn’t the best form of strength…I bring a marriage of technical thinking with a bit of salesman bravado.”

Jim Eastwood

Age: 32

Occupation: Sales & Marketing Manager

Lives: Northern Ireland

Jim started work in his father’s fish & chip shop chipping potatoes from the age of nine and went on to maintain top sales performances as a Sales and Marketing Manager. Jim, who was All Ireland cycling champion as a teenager, champions Richard Branson and describes himself as ‘driven, self-motivated, resilient and an eternal optimist.’

He Says: “I’m not a show pony or a one-trick pony, I’m not a jack-ass or a stubborn mule, and I’m definitely not a wild stallion that needs to be tamed. I am the champion thoroughbred that this process requires.”

Leon Doyle

Age: 26

Occupation: Fast Food Marketing Entrepreneur

Lives: Leeds

Harrogate born Leon, a former paper boy and lorry driver, describes himself as ‘charming, genuine and honest’.  Leon, who survived a near fatal fall from a tree at the age of 12 once completed the Great North Run for charity. A Director and Founder of an online takeaway ordering site and publishing business, Leon notes Richard Branson and Apple as inspirational.

He Says: “I don’t like your gimmicky salesman who thinks he can sell ice to an Eskimo. Chances are he probably can’t, and why would an Eskimo buy ice”.

Tom Pellereau

Age: 31

Occupation: Inventor

Lives: London

London born Tom’s first job was working on a farm sorting agricultural bulbs from mud. A keen inventor and sports enthusiast, Tom succeeded in taking a prototype made in his kitchen to the shelves of two leading pharmacy outlets in the UK. He describes himself as ‘creative, adventurous, loyal and enthusiastic’, and cites Thomas Edison as an icon.

He Says: “For me the Apprentice is a bit like the Olympics or the World Cup for entrepreneurs… I want to challenge myself, find out if I am ready to step up to this level.”

Vincent Disneur

Age: 29

Occupation:  Sales Manager – Telecoms Software

Lives: Canterbury

Half-Belgian and half-Swiss, Glasgow-born Vincent is a film buff and frequent traveler with a penchant for theatre. The self confessed perfectionist who was a Liverpool mascot as a child, names Bill Gates and Richard Branson as role models and would love to have been the brains behind Microsoft.

He Says: “My positive approach and very good looks make me stand out from the crowd.”



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