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Meet the Northern Ireland woman looking to get hired on BBC's Apprentice

Published 27/09/2016

Grainne McCoy, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice.
Grainne McCoy, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice.
Frances Bishop Age: 25 Occupation: Owner, Children’s Clothing Company Lives: Doncaster Frances is the owner of a children’s clothing boutique and describes herself as talkative with a feisty personality, which she believes is what has got her so far in the business world. She wants to impress Lord Sugar with her strong positive outlook. She says: “I’m a pocket rocket. I’m quite fiery and live by the rule ‘kill them with kindness’.”
Dillon St. Paul Age: 37 Occupation: Art Director, Fashion Magazine Lives: Dublin, Ireland Describing himself as super-creative, Dillon is currently a freelance Art Director at a fashion magazine. He describes himself as talented, kind and very funny. He intends to be ‘Machiavellian’ about tasks and says he will tell white lies if he needs to. He says: “Sometimes batting the eyelashes can get you a lot in business. Hence, the mascara comes in handy – so they can see those lashes.”
Courtney Wood Age: 29 Occupation: Owner, Novelty Gift Company Lives: Essex Courtney designs and creates novelty gifts which he supplies to national and international retailers. He describes himself as fun with a positive attitude and he believes his confidence is one of his strongest attributes. He says he is not one to sit back and plans to assert his authority in the process. He thinks his cutthroat tactics will help him reach the top. He says: “How would I describe myself in one sentence? I'll give you one word: awesome.”
Aleksandra King Age: 38 Occupation: Owner, Business Consultancy Lives: London Aleksandra owns and operates a business consultancy company. She describes herself as altruistic and extremely confident, believes she has a gift for spotting a good business opportunity and can sell to anyone. She cites her mother as an inspiration as she is fluent in seven languages and has an ability to ‘get people’. She says: “Like the Tasmanian devil in the famous cartoon, I will torpedo my way through to the win.”
Jessica Cunningham Age: 29 Occupation: Online Fashion Entrepreneur Lives: Derbyshire Jessica is owner of an online fashion company and the Operations Director for a PR and marketing agency. She believes her positive helpful attitude will propel her through the tasks, and says she wants to get close to the other candidates to find out how they operate, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and attempt to use them to her advantage. She says: “A motto I live by is: there is no competition if you're already winning.”
Trishna Thakrar Age: 28 Occupation: Recruitment Agent, IT Lives: London Trishna works for a large IT company to provide internal recruitment services. She used to play football semi-professionally, and says her friends would describe her as engaging and funny. She believes her best business skill lies in her charm, but suspects her sensitivity could be her downfall as, if you cross her, she will not hold back. She says: “My only tactic is to be myself; this alone will make sure I win.”
Sofiane Khelfa Age: 32 Occupation: Senior Sales Executive, Technology Lives: Essex Sofiane works in a high-end retail store, negotiating technology sales with high profile clients. He says he has the ability to adapt, deliver and build lasting relations with people in business, but his friends would say that he can sometimes be overzealous. He believes when he gets down to business, his skills and personality will shine through. He says: “The best survivors in the world are the people who adapt, and I’m the best at adapting. I’m like a chameleon. I adapt to anything, anywhere, anytime.”
Alana Spencer Age: 24 Occupation: Owner, Cake Company Lives: Ceredigion, Wales Alana is the owner of a baking company and describes herself as determined, creative and charming. She started her first business at age 17, a chocolate company, before moving on to selling cakes. She believes she is an adaptable businesswoman who will not shy away from any task Lord Sugar sets. She says: “I am incredibly hard working, driven, and I'll stop at nothing to get what I want.”
Rebecca Jeffery Age: 31 Occupation: Owner, Design & Marketing Agency Lives: Greater Manchester Rebecca is the owner of a marketing and design business, working as both the account manager and creative director. She prides herself on being relentless and possessing an infectious enthusiasm, but admits that numbers and calculations are a weakness for her. She says: “People often foolishly mistake my enthusiasm for silliness or positivity for naivety. I’m proof that you can get things done without whinging.”
Mukai Noiri Age: 36 Occupation: Digital Marketing Manager, Fashion Lives: London Mukai has lived in over six countries across three continents and recently gave up his position as a senior communications manager to focus on his business idea. He believes his charm is one of his strongest qualities, though he is a straight talker which he thinks some people might perceive as being insensitive. He says: “I feel sorry for Lord Sugar because previous applicants have been weak.”
Karthik Nagesan Age: 33 Occupation: Owner, IT Consultancy Lives: Northamptonshire Karthik owns an IT consulting company and says his friends would describe him as a born leader who takes charge and blazes a trail. He cites his role model as Alexander the Great because he is a master strategist and a brilliant tactician. He believes he is firm yet polite, making him the ultimate ‘human magnet’. He says: “If I wanted to be like everyone else, I’d have waxed my monobrow.”
Oliver Nohl-Oser Age: 33 Occupation: Owner, Food Distribution Business Lives: Wiltshire Oliver is the founder and director of a sausage manufacturer which supplies supermarkets both in the UK and internationally. He believes his greatest business skills lie in his marketing ability and his powers of persuasion. When it comes to winning, he regards honesty as the best policy but says he won’t be befriending other candidates as he wants to focus on the prize. He says: “Sometimes I feel like James Bond when I’m in my suit.”
Natalie Hughes Age: 30 Occupation: Owner, Hair and Beauty Salon Lives: Glasgow Natalie owns and runs two beauty and clothing businesses. She considers her best quality to be her quick-thinking, but she is also a persuasive talker who insists that nothing embarrasses her. She prides herself on her ability to buy and sell with ease and believes she has the motivation to win. She says: “I started at a young age, I'm a hustler, I've got the hustler’s ambition.”
JD O’Brien Age: 37 Occupation: Owner, Beachwear Company Lives: London JD is the founder and owner of a men’s beachwear company. He believes he can make the best of any situation whilst still being a ‘good bloke’. He says he is going to put in the hard work and aims to make no mistakes along the way. He says: “I won’t suffer fools. I will get upset by other candidates who don’t know their arse from their elbow.”
Samuel Boateng Age: 27 Occupation: Sales Manager, Major Car Brand Lives: London Samuel is responsible for managing and generating new business for over 700 businesses across London. He regards his ability in developing new and innovative ideas to be his strongest business skill. He says he has excellent public speaking abilities and admits he will be ‘on the charm offensive’, but doesn’t want to seem an easy target. He says: “My creativity, my passion, my charm, and my likeability all roll into one, creating one perfect guy.”
Michelle Niziol Age: 35 Occupation: Owner, Property Consultancy Lives: Oxfordshire Michelle is the founder and owner of three companies in mortgages, property and lettings. She describes herself as straight-talking, passionate and honest but admits that she can sometimes be bossy and impatient. She says letting others take the lead could be challenge for her. She says: “I work 15 to 17 hours every day. 100 per cent, I'm a workaholic.”
Paul Sullivan Age: 38 Occupation: Owner, Marketing Agency Lives: Chigwell, Essex Paul is the owner and director of a marketing company specialising in finance, technology, construction and property. He is a self-proclaimed charmer but doesn’t think he needs a ‘USP’ to win; consistency and sincerity will put him ahead. He says: “I'll play the team when I need to be part of the team, but I'm here to win; I'm not here to make up the numbers.”

The Apprentice returns to the BBC next week and one Northern Ireland woman is hoping to get hired.

This year's line-up of candidates include nine women and nine men between the ages of 24 and 38 and from a wide variety of business backgrounds.

Among them is Newry woman Grainne McCoy.

The 31-year-old owns her own makeup business and works on projects from film sets to fashion shows.

She says her hunger and passion push her to succeed and she puts maximum effort into everything she does. She is confident that her self-belief and strong-mindedness will see her through the tasks.

“I need guidance and a little bit of mentoring to help me make that first million,” she said.

More: Lord Sugar's Apprentice line-up includes 'Tasmanian devil' and 'pocket rocket'

The first episode will see the business newbies tackle a task testing their negotiation and selling skills.

Split into two teams, they will have to work together to pick out treasure from trash at a large lock-up containing antiques and collectables before selling them to the public.

The winning team will be the one that makes the biggest profit, meaning they will escape the threat of being fired by Lord Sugar and his wagging finger in the boardroom.

Lord Sugar returns with The Apprentice from October 6 (BBC/PA)
Lord Sugar returns with The Apprentice from October 6 (BBC/PA)
Grainne McCoy, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice.
Frances Bishop Age: 25 Occupation: Owner, Children’s Clothing Company Lives: Doncaster Frances is the owner of a children’s clothing boutique and describes herself as talkative with a feisty personality, which she believes is what has got her so far in the business world. She wants to impress Lord Sugar with her strong positive outlook. She says: “I’m a pocket rocket. I’m quite fiery and live by the rule ‘kill them with kindness’.”
Dillon St. Paul Age: 37 Occupation: Art Director, Fashion Magazine Lives: Dublin, Ireland Describing himself as super-creative, Dillon is currently a freelance Art Director at a fashion magazine. He describes himself as talented, kind and very funny. He intends to be ‘Machiavellian’ about tasks and says he will tell white lies if he needs to. He says: “Sometimes batting the eyelashes can get you a lot in business. Hence, the mascara comes in handy – so they can see those lashes.”
Courtney Wood Age: 29 Occupation: Owner, Novelty Gift Company Lives: Essex Courtney designs and creates novelty gifts which he supplies to national and international retailers. He describes himself as fun with a positive attitude and he believes his confidence is one of his strongest attributes. He says he is not one to sit back and plans to assert his authority in the process. He thinks his cutthroat tactics will help him reach the top. He says: “How would I describe myself in one sentence? I'll give you one word: awesome.”
Aleksandra King Age: 38 Occupation: Owner, Business Consultancy Lives: London Aleksandra owns and operates a business consultancy company. She describes herself as altruistic and extremely confident, believes she has a gift for spotting a good business opportunity and can sell to anyone. She cites her mother as an inspiration as she is fluent in seven languages and has an ability to ‘get people’. She says: “Like the Tasmanian devil in the famous cartoon, I will torpedo my way through to the win.”
Jessica Cunningham Age: 29 Occupation: Online Fashion Entrepreneur Lives: Derbyshire Jessica is owner of an online fashion company and the Operations Director for a PR and marketing agency. She believes her positive helpful attitude will propel her through the tasks, and says she wants to get close to the other candidates to find out how they operate, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and attempt to use them to her advantage. She says: “A motto I live by is: there is no competition if you're already winning.”
Trishna Thakrar Age: 28 Occupation: Recruitment Agent, IT Lives: London Trishna works for a large IT company to provide internal recruitment services. She used to play football semi-professionally, and says her friends would describe her as engaging and funny. She believes her best business skill lies in her charm, but suspects her sensitivity could be her downfall as, if you cross her, she will not hold back. She says: “My only tactic is to be myself; this alone will make sure I win.”
Sofiane Khelfa Age: 32 Occupation: Senior Sales Executive, Technology Lives: Essex Sofiane works in a high-end retail store, negotiating technology sales with high profile clients. He says he has the ability to adapt, deliver and build lasting relations with people in business, but his friends would say that he can sometimes be overzealous. He believes when he gets down to business, his skills and personality will shine through. He says: “The best survivors in the world are the people who adapt, and I’m the best at adapting. I’m like a chameleon. I adapt to anything, anywhere, anytime.”
Alana Spencer Age: 24 Occupation: Owner, Cake Company Lives: Ceredigion, Wales Alana is the owner of a baking company and describes herself as determined, creative and charming. She started her first business at age 17, a chocolate company, before moving on to selling cakes. She believes she is an adaptable businesswoman who will not shy away from any task Lord Sugar sets. She says: “I am incredibly hard working, driven, and I'll stop at nothing to get what I want.”
Rebecca Jeffery Age: 31 Occupation: Owner, Design & Marketing Agency Lives: Greater Manchester Rebecca is the owner of a marketing and design business, working as both the account manager and creative director. She prides herself on being relentless and possessing an infectious enthusiasm, but admits that numbers and calculations are a weakness for her. She says: “People often foolishly mistake my enthusiasm for silliness or positivity for naivety. I’m proof that you can get things done without whinging.”
Mukai Noiri Age: 36 Occupation: Digital Marketing Manager, Fashion Lives: London Mukai has lived in over six countries across three continents and recently gave up his position as a senior communications manager to focus on his business idea. He believes his charm is one of his strongest qualities, though he is a straight talker which he thinks some people might perceive as being insensitive. He says: “I feel sorry for Lord Sugar because previous applicants have been weak.”
Karthik Nagesan Age: 33 Occupation: Owner, IT Consultancy Lives: Northamptonshire Karthik owns an IT consulting company and says his friends would describe him as a born leader who takes charge and blazes a trail. He cites his role model as Alexander the Great because he is a master strategist and a brilliant tactician. He believes he is firm yet polite, making him the ultimate ‘human magnet’. He says: “If I wanted to be like everyone else, I’d have waxed my monobrow.”
Oliver Nohl-Oser Age: 33 Occupation: Owner, Food Distribution Business Lives: Wiltshire Oliver is the founder and director of a sausage manufacturer which supplies supermarkets both in the UK and internationally. He believes his greatest business skills lie in his marketing ability and his powers of persuasion. When it comes to winning, he regards honesty as the best policy but says he won’t be befriending other candidates as he wants to focus on the prize. He says: “Sometimes I feel like James Bond when I’m in my suit.”
Natalie Hughes Age: 30 Occupation: Owner, Hair and Beauty Salon Lives: Glasgow Natalie owns and runs two beauty and clothing businesses. She considers her best quality to be her quick-thinking, but she is also a persuasive talker who insists that nothing embarrasses her. She prides herself on her ability to buy and sell with ease and believes she has the motivation to win. She says: “I started at a young age, I'm a hustler, I've got the hustler’s ambition.”
JD O’Brien Age: 37 Occupation: Owner, Beachwear Company Lives: London JD is the founder and owner of a men’s beachwear company. He believes he can make the best of any situation whilst still being a ‘good bloke’. He says he is going to put in the hard work and aims to make no mistakes along the way. He says: “I won’t suffer fools. I will get upset by other candidates who don’t know their arse from their elbow.”
Samuel Boateng Age: 27 Occupation: Sales Manager, Major Car Brand Lives: London Samuel is responsible for managing and generating new business for over 700 businesses across London. He regards his ability in developing new and innovative ideas to be his strongest business skill. He says he has excellent public speaking abilities and admits he will be ‘on the charm offensive’, but doesn’t want to seem an easy target. He says: “My creativity, my passion, my charm, and my likeability all roll into one, creating one perfect guy.”
Michelle Niziol Age: 35 Occupation: Owner, Property Consultancy Lives: Oxfordshire Michelle is the founder and owner of three companies in mortgages, property and lettings. She describes herself as straight-talking, passionate and honest but admits that she can sometimes be bossy and impatient. She says letting others take the lead could be challenge for her. She says: “I work 15 to 17 hours every day. 100 per cent, I'm a workaholic.”
Paul Sullivan Age: 38 Occupation: Owner, Marketing Agency Lives: Chigwell, Essex Paul is the owner and director of a marketing company specialising in finance, technology, construction and property. He is a self-proclaimed charmer but doesn’t think he needs a ‘USP’ to win; consistency and sincerity will put him ahead. He says: “I'll play the team when I need to be part of the team, but I'm here to win; I'm not here to make up the numbers.”

Other tasks in the series will see the candidates coming up with an advertising campaign for jeans, manufacturing a range of sweets and creating their own brand of gin.

The contestants will hope to impress Lord Sugar in order to secure his £250,000 investment in their business plan.

The business tycoon will be joined once again by aides Baroness Karren Brady and Claude Littner as the boardroom antics get under way.

Lord Sugar said of the competition: "You can compare this to being on a life support machine and one of your colleagues here pulling the plug out just to charge their mobile phone up. That's how competitive it will get."

He added that he is only interested in seeing "who's got a good business brain" and that if people taking part are unable to tackle the process and want to complain and moan, they can "send me an email at lordsugar@idontcare.com".

Lord Sugar added that his £250,000 investment will "change someone's life forever" after previously investing £1.25 million in five businesses during the show's run.

The Apprentice will air at 9pm on Thursdays on BBC One and BBC One HD from October 6.

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