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Who is the most successful Apprentice winner? Sales and profits of Lord Sugar’s business partners revealed

We dig into official company records to find out which former Apprentice champions are turning a profit in their series-winning businesses.

The wait is finally over to find out who Lord Sugar’s new business partner is, the first to be crowned since the Covid pandemic forced The Apprentice off our screens for two years.

Yesterday (24 March) Harpreet Kaur beat Kathryn Burn to join a 10-strong roster of Apprentice champions, who have won the BBC One series since the format changed to see Lord Sugar invest £250,000 in fledgling businesses.

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Many of the former winners have gone on to build multi-million pound companies, generating hundreds of thousands of pounds in profits and dividends for themselves and Lord Sugar.

UK companies are required to register with Companies House, and lodge reports on their performance and undertakings each year.

Small businesses – which Apprentice-winning firms usually are – get some exemptions, meaning they do not have to log as much detail as larger companies.

This can mean there are gaps in the data – but we can still find a huge amount of information about the Apprentice winners’ sales, profits and assets.

So which are the most successful winners, and how much money have they made to reward Lord Sugar for his investment?

NationalWorld has analysed Companies House data for each winning business to find the answers.

Tom Pellereau – 2011 winner

Inventor Tom won over Lord Sugar with his curved nail file and baby nail clipper.

Together they set up the company Aventom (since renamed Stylideas), which sells a range of beauty products and accessories.

Tom Pellereau made millions with his Stylefile business

The company has not revealed its sales or profit figures for the last two years, but in the year to June 2019 it reported sales of £2.5 million, and a pre-tax profit of £80,096.

It also paid £300,000 in dividends (financial rewards taken out of a company’s profits) to its shareholders. The only shareholders are Mr Pellereau and Lord Sugar’s company, Amsvest Limited.

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The sales figures in 2019 were a significant drop compared to 2018, when they totaled £4.1 million. Profits were also down.

Overall however sales have risen by 334% between 2015, the first year they were reported, when they totalled just £570,733. Pre-tax profits in 2015 were a mere £759, and £607 after tax.

A total of £730,000 was paid out in dividends between 2015 and 2019.

Before setting up his new company with Lord Sugar, Mr Pellereau ran a firm called Foxifile Ltd, since dissolved. That company never revealed its earnings, but its last filing with Companies House before the Apprentice win showed it had negative assets of -£7,727, owing more than it held.

Stylideas in comparison had net assets of £1,369,053 when it last filed in June 2021.

Ricky Martin - 2012 winner

Ricky Martin (actually registered as Richard Martin on Companies House) and Lord Sugar launched science recruitment company Hyper Recruitment Solutions after his 2012 win.

The firm appears to have gone on to be a roaring success.

Ricky Martin, a former professional boxer went into partnership with Lord Sugar

In the year ending June 2020 it reported sales of £11.9 million, with a pre-tax profit of £1.4 million and post-tax profit of £1.1 million.

While it did not reveal its sales or profits figures when it last filed in June 2021, the report stated turnover rose by 15% year-on-year, so it can be assumed sales were in the region of £13.7 million.

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The company also paid out £400,000 in dividends to shareholders (Martin and Amsvest) in 2020. To date it has paid out almost £2 million in dividends, not including the year to June 2021, for which there are no figures.

Hyper Recruitment Solutions’s sales figures and profits rose every year between 2014 and 2020.

As of June 2021 it had assets of £2.3 million.

Dr Leah Totton - 2013 winner

Dr Leah Totton used Lord Sugar’s investment to set up a cosmetic clinic in London under the name Dr Leah Clinics. They have since opened two more stores together in London and in Essex.

Filings with Companies House show this is another success story.

Dr Leah Totton launched a skincare clinic with Lord Sugar after the show

In the year to June 2021, the company reported sales of £1.8 million, pre-tax profits of £601,642, and post-tax profits of £475,153.

Sales took a bit of a tumble in 2020, following the pandemic lockdown – sales came to £1.31 million that year compared to £1.51 million the year before, while pre-tax profits were down from £332,242 to £174,512.

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The company did not disclose if it had paid out dividends in 2020 or 2021, but paid £250,000 in 2019 and has paid at least £700,000 to date. Its assets stood at £871,646 in June 2021.

Dr Leah has recently launched a new company, Dr Leah Skincare Limited. It has not yet completed a full financial year, and has no figures to report. .

Mark Wright – 2014 winner

Mark Wright and Lord Sugar’s digital marketing joint venture Climb Online is another Apprentice company with a multi–million pound turnover.

In the year to June 2021 the firm reported sales of £4.1 million, leading to pre-tax profits of £482,598 (post-tax profit figures were not published).

Mark Wright set up his business Climb Online after winning the tenth season of the show

Sales were up by 18% year-on-year, while profits were up 50%, although sales figures do seem to have plateaued somewhat since 2017, when turnover first hit £4 million.

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The company paid £210,000 in dividends to its shareholders (Wright and Amsvest) in 2020, bringing the total to date to £1.35 million. It did not reveal if it had paid dividends in 2021.

Wright has a plethora of companies nowadays, and has transferred his shares in Climb Online into a holding company he set up, called Wrighton Investments. Other ventures include Wrighton Property, Wrighton Bush Capital, and Make More Noise.

Joseph Valente – 2015 winner

Unfortunately 2015 winner Joseph Valente’s business relationship with Lord Sugar was short lived.

Lord Sugar became a director of Valente’s existing plumbing business, VHB Assets Limited (formally named ImpraGas) in January 2016, but resigned just 15 months later in April 2017.

Joseph Valente grew two multi-million pound businesses since winning The Apprentice

The company went bust and liquidators were appointed by its creditors in March 2020.

The company never revealed its sales or profit figures in its annual accounts, but the liquidators’ report shows the company owed millions to creditors when the business was wound down.

Mr Valente does not seem to have let the failure of his company keep him down, with a search of Companies House revealing several other new ventures in his name.

This includes The Trade Group Limited, through which Mr Valente manages his business coaching and consultancy company TradeMasterMind.

Elsewhere the plumbing entrepreneur is charging clients a minimum of £1,000 per month for business coaching at the Power2Succeed University. NationalWorld was unable to locate this company on Companies House.

Alana Spencer - 2016 winner

Baker Alana Spencer set up her company By Alana Limited with Lord Sugar’s investment, selling a range of cakes and tray bake treats under the brand name Ridiculously Rich By Alana.

The available figures show the company was much more modest than some other winners’ ventures, but it was still profitable.

Aana Spencer bought out Lord Sugar’s stake in her business just before the pandemic hit

The last time the company reported its sales and profit figures was in the year ending June 2019. Annual sales had totalled £439,679, leading to pre-tax profits of £25,371 and post-tax profits of £20,220.

Spencer bought out Lord Sugar in 2019. While sales that year had grown since the company’s inception (sales came to £175,110 in the six months to June 2017), they had failed to grow since 2018.

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A dividend of £60,000 was paid to shareholders in the year to June 2018, when Lord Sugar was still involved in the business.

Sales and profit figures are not available after Lord Sugar’s departure, but the company reported assets of £607,439 in June 2021.

Apprentice viewers may be happy to learn that Alana’s boyfriend, Bart Thomas – who she famously told Lord Sugar she would have no problem firing – seems to still be involved in her business ventures.

The pair jointly run a holding company, Alanamor Limited, which is involved with the By Alana business.

Sarah Lynn - 2017 joint winner

Lord Sugar invested in Sarah Lynn’s existing business, Sweets in the City Limited, which sells personalised sweets gifts on its website and in stores.

The business has not revealed sales or profit figures in its Companies House filings since 2018, but based on its reported assets it does seem to have grown significantly since 2017.

James White and Sarah Lynn were both crowned winners in an Apprentice first

In June 2021, the company had net assets of £220,075, compared to £36,984 in February 2017, before Lord Sugar’s investment.

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Its June 2020 report said the company was “trading profitably” after acquiring the assets of balloon company Bloonaway Limited.

It paid no dividends to shareholders in 2020 or 2021, but paid out £98,000 at some point in the 16 months to June 2018.

James White - 2017 joint winner

Winning alongside Sarah Lynn in 2017 was James White and his IT and infrastructure recruitment business Right Time Recruitment.

The company made £451,790 in sales in its first six months of trading up to June 2018, although that did see it make a loss of £36,927 before tax (£29,911 after tax, due to a tax credit).

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Sales or profit figures were not revealed for 2019, 2020, or 2021. Its assets have dwindled from £167,938 to £118,096 between 2018 and 2021, so it is difficult to get a handle on how well the company is doing.

Lord Sugar parted ways with the company in December 2020.

Sian Gabbidon - 2018 winner

Sian Gabbidon won Lord Sugar’s investment with her swimwear brand Sian Marie.

The business, named Sian Marie Fashion Ltd, has since undergone a transformation, branching into the loungewear sector.

Sian Gabbidon designed a range of swimwear and loungewear

In the year ending June 2019, the company reported sales worth £92,151, with pre-tax profits of £47,785 and post-tax profits of £47,058.

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The firm had £114,904 cash in the bank as of that point (with net assets of £203,042), suggesting Gabbidon had spent the bulk of Lord Sugar’s investment.

No sales or profits figures have been revealed for the years since in Companies House filings, but the total net assets had fallen to £130,284 as of June 2021.

Carina Lepore - 2019 winner

Carina Lepore was the last winner before Covid took the series off air for two years.

Lord Sugar invested in her existing business, Dough Artisan Bakehouse.

Carina Lepore is the latest winner of The Apprentice ahead of the season 16 finale

The budding bakery chain has seen a sizeable increase in sales. In the 17 months to June 2020, sales came to £510,285, pre-tax profit to £73,581, and post-tax profit to £52,563.

In the 12 months to June 2021, sales had risen to £705,866. Pre-tax profit fell to £30,229 and post-tax profit to £23,907, due to what the annual report described as investment in the company infrastructure.

“The board are confident that [this investment], together with exploring other ways of expanding the business, will ensure that we will be reporting increased profit levels in the next financial year,” the report said.

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According to the company’s website, the original store in London’s Herne Hill has been joined by another in Beckenham (also in London), with another location on the way.

Shareholders received £29,880 in dividends in 2020.

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