Belfast Telegraph

Contest for Lord Sugar's £250,000 will be between cakes and novelty gifts

The contest for Lord Sugar's £250,000 investment will be a battle between cakes and novelty gifts after three more Apprentice candidates were dispatched of.

The business magnate fired online fashion entrepreneur Jessica Cunningham, 29, after being unsure about her plans to pay television celebrities to wear her brand of clothes.

Also exiting after eleven weeks of gruelling challenges were children's clothes company owner Frances Bishop, 25, and Grainne McCoy, 31, who runs her own make-up studio.

Cake company owner Alana Spencer, 24, and novelty gift business owner, Courtney Wood, 29, will compete for Lord Sugar's investment in Sunday night's finale.

Cunningham told the Press Association she was "gutted" to be leaving the show but said she had "absolutely loved" the 11 weeks of competition.

"It has been the best experience of my life to date, except from having children," she said.

"I think everyone has got to see the real Jessica - I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but I am happy with how I have come across."

The self-described "female version of Jim Carrey", added that she was "overwhelmed with everyone's support".

The five candidates were interrogated by business experts Claude Littmer, Mike Souter, Linda Plant and Claudine Collins on Thursday night's episode.

They were then called into the boardroom where Lord Sugar quickly dispatched of McCoy, telling her he "just can't see" the concept of her business.

He praised Cunningham's personality and "great sales ability" but told her the business plan was "a very, very risky idea".

Lord Sugar took the unusual step of confirming to Spencer she would be in the show's final before turning to Wood and Bishop.

He told the pair it was a "tough" decision, before firing Bishop who had lost eight of the 10 tasks during the series.

Bishop told the Press Association that being eliminated so close to the final had "summed up" her experience.

"It was so close. It could have gone either way I think. He spent a long time debating between us, perhaps on a different day it could have been another outcome," she said.

McCoy said she regretted not having her business plan "up to scratch" but added she still believed in becoming "the next Gok Wan in the make-up world".

In Sunday's finale Spencer and Wood will be joined by a number of their former Apprentice colleagues as they are tasked with launching their business by creating a brand and unveiling their campaign.

They will pitch their plans to 200 industry experts including Lord Sugar before learning of their fate in the boardroom.

:: The Apprentice Final airs at 9pm on Sunday December 18.

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