Monday, July 18, 2011

What a bright spark! Inventor Tom Pellereau is Lord Sugar's newest business partner winning The Apprentice

By Sarah Fitzmaurice

He had the worst record of the final four after succeeding in just three tasks throughout the process but Tom Pellereau has won The Apprentice.

The inventor, 32, has become Lord Alan Sugar’s newest business partner and is the recipient of a £250,000 cash injection to start up his business with the help of the multi-millionaire.

The final of the series saw Tom and the other finalists, skincare entrepreneur Susan Ma, executive assistant Helen Milligan, and sales and marketing manager Jim Eastwood, undergo a grilling by four of Lord Sugar’s trusted aides.

He's a bright spark!Tom Pellereau celebrates winning The Apprentice with his new business partner Lord Alan Sugar

New partners: Lord Sugar and the inventor will be working together on Tom's chair idea as well as incorporating his curved nail file, which he invented before he appeared on the show, into the business

And it seems that against all the odds, Tom’s business plan, or at least an adaption of his office seat, proved to be the winning idea, alongside his curved nail file, that he managed to get into Walmart before appearing on the show.

Speaking on You're Hired show after the final episode Lord Sugar explaining why he hired Tom, said: 'I'm a product man at heart.'

[Second chance? Tom beat Jim, Helen and Susan to the top spot but it seems that Susan may have been offered a lifeline by Lord Sugar who suggested they could do a deal together in the future and said he was keen to stay in close contact with her

It seems that the inventor's ideas and his design ability appealed to Lord Sugar although the entrepreneur did say the chair idea needed 'a lot of work.'

Tom told the Daily Mail that 'serendipity' led him to apply for the show.

He said: 'I had the worst week of my life and I heard and advert on the radio about this series. I split with a serious girlfriend, my career was falling apart. It was a last-gasp thin to apply.'

And it appears that Tom is enjoying a double celebration, he just got engaged to Sarah Fawcus, a fellow engineer he met just three weeks before appearing on the show.

Tom, who proposed before learning he had won the show, told The Sun: 'We are both big geeks and the wedding is going to be incredible fun.'

Celebration: After being told he had won The Apprentice Tom left the building and threw a first into the air in celebration

And it seems that things aren't all over for Susan and Lord Sugar appeared to suggest the pair could be working together in the future.

The businessman said he wanted to venture into the cosmetics business and said: 'I would like to keep in close contact with her, before adding, I think there is a little deal to be done.'

Last ditch attempt: At the final moment Helen proposed a different business proposal, a bakery idea, but her desperate attempts failed to impress Lord Sugar

Mulling it over: Karen backed Tom and said : ‘Of all the candidates he’s the one who would most benefit from your involvement. He is an inventor, he has got ideas but he doesn’t have that cutting commercial edge which you could contribute.’

In the final of the show the final four were grilled by Lord Sugar’s former aide Margaret Mountford, Claude Littner, 57, former global troubleshooter for the businessman, Mike Suitor, pioneer of Britain’s free magazine industry and Matthew Riley, a recipient of a young entrepreneur award in 2007, who now owns a multi-million pound telecoms company.

And it seemed ‘nice guy’ Tom wasn’t going to last five minutes in the interviews as the panel tore apart his business plan.

Preparing for a grilling: The final episode saw the four finalist interviewed by four of Lord Alan's closest aides and they went over their business plans with a fine tooth comb

Figures don't add up: Tom was grilled by Claude Littner over his numbers and it became apparent his figures didn't add up

Figures don't add up: Tom was grilled by Claude Littner over his numbers and it became apparent his figures didn't add up

Riley pointed out that while Tom’s main revenue was identified as being from specially designed work seats meaning employees don’t suffer back pain, at no point throughout his entire business proposal had he used the word ‘chair’.

Sat in front of the stern Mike Suitor Tom fared no better as his projections and number just didn’t add up.

Contact book: Helen was questioned on her ability to succeed in her business plan without good contacts. She later changed her business plan at the last minute in the boardroom

Market research? Jim was asked if he had spoken to any Head Teachers about his e-learning business plan - he hadn't

But it was Karen Brady who gave Tom her backing when the aides met to give feedback to the boss and she noted: ‘Of all the candidates he’s the one who would most benefit from your involvement.’

‘He is an inventor, he has got ideas but he doesn’t have that cutting commercial edge which you could contribute.’

Lord Sugar told the inventor: 'You've got the experience in inventing and selling stuff. The current business idea needs tweaking and that's what business is all about.'

In the hot seat: The foursome were grilled by some of Lord Sugar's most trusted friends who went over their business plans with a fine toothcomb

Payment plan? Margaret left Susan hot under the collar when she highlighted that Susan hadn't paid her employees tax and national insurance after a trade show

Lord Sugar is also incorporating his nail file product, which has been sold in major retailers, into the business.

Executive assistant Helen, who had looked a dead cert to triumph in the series after winning ten out of 11 tasks, failed to impress and Lord Sugar labelled her concierge service idea 'disappointing.'

He explained: "I cannot express my disappointment at your business plan.'

At the final hour, she shocked viewers and the panel by proposing a second business plan, in the bakery industry, but even this desperate attempt failed to sway Lord Sugar.


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