Belfast Telegraph

Alana Spencer crowned as The Apprentice winner

Cake entrepreneur Alana Spencer defeated novelty gifts entrepreneur Courtney Brown.

Cake maker Alana Spencer will become Alan Sugar's business partner after she was crowned as the winner of The Apprentice on Sunday (18Dec16).

The 24-year-old Welshwoman battled it out with novelty gifts entrepreneur Courtney Wood, 29, to win the prize of $312,260 (£250,000) investment from Sugar in the final of the BBC show.

Both contestants were asked to lay out extensive business plans for the 69-year-old mogul and a panel of experts, with Spencer's plan to scale up her bakery brand, now dubbed Ridiculously Rich by Alana, winning out over Wood's scheme to bring his inventions to market with a company called Purple Whale.

Sugar chose Spencer despite indicating that he had more experience investing in Wood's line of work, having previously chosen inventor Tom Pellereau as the show's winner in 2011.

During the series' climactic boardroom battle he said despite being tempted to stick to "what he knew", he would go with his "gut feeling" and choose to invest in her business supplying delicatessens with sweet treats.

Spencer, who started her business at the age of just 17, told the Press Association her early start in the business world had been a big factor in her victory.

"I think he admires people that go out and do it for themselves," she said "Most of us had our own businesses but I think the fact I started so young was definitely a factor in it."

Expressing her delight at her new business partner she added, "It's mad. I started it when I was in school. It started as a chocolate company and then developed into cakes.

"It's gone strength to strength and it's a good small business but I really want to make it a big business and what better way to do that than get Lord Sugar on board."

The final also saw a number of the losing contestants from the 12th series of the British reality show return to help the two finalists' prepare for their big presentations before Sugar and his expert panel at London's City Hall.

They helped Spencer and Wood create branding, TV adverts and digital billboards to convince Sugar and the expert judges they were a worthy winner.

Spencer is the 12th winner of the U.K. version of The Apprentice in total and the sixth to win it in its current format, in which Sugar offers contestants the chance to become his business partner.

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