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The Apprentice 2013: Leah Totton beats Luisa Zissman to Alan Sugar’s investment

Esme Riley
by Esme Riley Published on 18 July 2013
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It’s all over for another year! The Apprentice series nine concluded last night, with Lord Alan Sugar choosing to invest in Leah Totton over show favourite Luisa Zissman. Here’s how it all played out…

Leah Totton was last night crowned the winner of The Apprentice series nine.

The 25-year-old Doctor beat baking entrepreneur Luisa Zissman - the favourite to win - in the show's final.

Show boss Lord Alan Sugar decided to take a "risk" and invest £250,000 in Leah's non-surgical cosmetic clinics business.

The final episode of the series saw Leah and Luisa launch their businesses, with the help of their former fellow contestants.

Leah Totton chooses who she wants on her team © BBC

Alan Sugar


Reality TV star
born 24/03/1947

The girls had three days to perfect their brands, create websites and promotional videos and pitch their ideas to industry professionals.

Luisa planned to launch a baking supplies online wholesalers, which she named "Bakers Toolkit".

As she already owns three businesses in the same area, Luisa was clearly an expert in what she was talking about and decided to be the face of her brand.

Luisa Zissman pitches her idea © BBC

But she was criticised for limiting her market with the amount of pink she used in her logo and throughout her launch campaign.

And the 25-year-old was in floods of tears following her pitch, which she felt went terribly after she came unstuck answering a question about the future of her business.

Meanwhile, Leah was hell-bent on naming her potential new cosmetic procedures business Niks - a play on the word skin.

But when her team's market research concluded the word had too many connotations to cuts and knives, she was forced to change the name to N I K S.

Despite this hiccup, Leah's pitch to experts went without a hitch and she answered any questions seamlessly.

In the boardroom, where Lord Alan was to make his final verdict, Luisa proved she's no longer the difficult, manipulative woman she was once labelled.

Alan's sidekick Karren Brady told him as he deliberated over his decision while the girls were outside: "I was definitely worried at one point if there was a business woman behind that persona she puts across, but I think she’s proved she understands the business.

"She’s got a proposition that’s investable and that she’s learned from what you’ve told her and she’s changed and adapted her style."

Leah, on the other hand, acted rather stubborn in the boardroom and told the business boss she didn't like his suggestion that she renamed her business Dr Leah.

Though Alan was clearly concerned by her new feisty character, Karren reassured him: "I have to say, having observed her closely, she is an incredibly bright young woman.

"I mean she really does know what she’s talking about. She’s shown that she can take a gift that she has and use that to create a business. I think that shows a really unique skill."

Ultimately, the businessman had to choose between taking a risk on Leah's potentially lucrative cosmetics business, or playing it safe with Luisa's baking wholesalers.

The teams gather in the boardroom © BBC

He said as he made his decision: "So, I think I’ve made my mind up now.

“At the end of the day, the devil in me is wanting to take a risk. Leah, you’re going to be my new business partner."

Alan later added on You're Hired: "Leah’s a very determined young woman, and it’s a very interesting industry, and she’s the most interesting candidate, and she has the most interesting business proposition."

A chuffed Leah said after her win: "To have Lord Sugar show this faith in me is absolutely unbelievable, it’s amazing.

"I had much less experience than the other candidates in business coming in to the process and I really can’t believe that I have got this far and that I’ve actually won it!

"I can’t believe it. I’m really going to do everything that I can to prove that he has made the right decision and I won’t let him down."

Leah Totton shoots her promo © BBC
by Esme Riley