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Jordan Poulton, Jaz Ampaw-Farr, Kurt Wilson, Francesca MacDuff-Varley, Myles Mordaunt, Natalie Panayi, Alex Mills, Luisa Zissman, with (sitting left to right) Tim Stillwell, Rebecca Slater, Jason Leech, Sophie Lau, Neil Clough, Leah Totton, Zeeshaan Shah, Uzma Yakoob, the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
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Natalie Panayi, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice
Occupation: Recruitment Manager
Lives: Rickmansworth, UK
Natalie’s first job was as a pub waitress and says her dad is her business inspiration, as he built his success from nothing through his strong work ethic. Her passions include fashion and money and she is also a trained jazz singer and qualified make-up artist. She says her friends would describe her as headstrong, determined and caring, though one of her most annoying habits can be interrupting people.
She says: “When it comes to business, I am the complete package and when it comes to sales, I’m the best.”
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Neil Clough, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Regional Manager – Soccer Centres
Lives: Altrincham, UK
Neil says he would be described as focussed, determined and driven by those that know him well, though his weaknesses include being overly competitive and very opinionated. He is a Manchester United supporter and plays football regularly in an amateur league, having played semi-professionally in the past. One of his first jobs was in telesales, which he cites as the role that kicked off his career.
He says: “I’m here to win. If that means being tough and making tough decisions, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
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Rebecca Slater, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Medical Rep
Lives: Wigan, UK
Rebecca would describe herself as authentic, generous and adventurous, though says she can be very impatient. Now working in medical sales, her first job was in a Post Office shop. She lists Alex Polizzi and Mary Portas as business figures that inspire her because they are willing to take on any challenge.
She says: “I’m a pretty tough person. I don’t let people walk all over me in life or in business. And if somebody crosses me, it’s game over.”
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Kurt Wilson, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Health Drink Entrepreneur and Health & Safety Manager
Lives: Liverpool, UK
Kurt says his friends would describe him as intelligent, argumentative and ambitious. His first job was washing dishes as a kitchen porter and he says his greatest business achievement to date is running his own smoothie business after suffering many knock-backs and rejections.
He says: "I'm an alpha male; I always get my own way and know how to make people do what I want."
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Alex Mills, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Company Director
Lives: Cardiff, UK
Alex says his greatest strengths lie in design and calculations and he describes himself as passionate, hardworking and determined. He began his working life as a housekeeper in a hotel and started his first company at 19. He is inspired in business by brands such as Tom Ford and figures such as James Caan, and enjoys playing the guitar and sport shooting in his spare time.
He says: "I'm an old head on young shoulders. I believe that I'm the new breed of businessman that this process requires."
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Jason Leech, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Historian and Property Entrepreneur
Lives: London, UK
Born in Athens, Jason says he has never been ‘formally employed’, instead remaining self-employed and a student throughout his career to date. His hobbies include gardening and croquet and he lists his passions as knowledge and language. He cites himself as a devotee of Question Time and says that the brands he has the most respect for are John Lewis/Waitrose and American Express, as they stand for quality and high-standard customer service.
He says: “Some people might come to this process with a game plan. I just feel my effortless superiority will take me all the way.”
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Zeeshaan Shah, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: CEO of Property Investment Company
Lives: London, UK
Zeeshaan, who grew up in Pakistan, believes his greatest strengths are that he is an eternal optimist, street-smart and well-connected. He says his weaknesses would include bossiness and that he can’t do something if his heart isn’t in it. Starting his career as a part-time waiter, he believes his greatest business achievement is still yet to come.
He says: "I’m a 'Great' of my generation. I'm an innovator and leader in business. I take inspiration from Napoleon; I am here to conquer."
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Leah Totton, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Lives: London, UK
Born in Northern Ireland, Leah now lives in London and is kept busy by her work as a practising doctor. She is passionate about medicine and health and says her friends would describe her as caring, kind and professional, though she can be too ambitious.
She says: "I'm very hard working and feel I can bring youth, vibrancy, enthusiasm and a touch of class to any business I'm part of."
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Luisa Zissman, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Retail Entrepreneur
Lives: St Albans, UK
Mother-of-one Luisa describes herself as confident, logical and outspoken and cites her greatest business achievement to be the ability to create new jobs through the success of her businesses. She lists her favourite business brands as Christian Louboutin and Virgin Atlantic for their strong brand identities. Her first job was as a Saturday girl in an estate agent and she now owns her own cupcake shop, baking website and electronics business.
She says: "I have the energy of a Duracell bunny, sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit, and a brain like Einstein."
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Sophie Lau, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Lives: Bristol, UK
Malaysian-born Sophie says her greatest strengths are creativity and the ability to 'think outside the box’', but her weakness is mental arithmetic. She first worked as a catering company waitress and at the age of 19, began running her own restaurant whilst still studying as a student. She is passionate about food and describes herself as innovative and intelligent.
She says: "I don't have a multi-million pound business but what I do have is the raw talent, the drive and the competitive streak."
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Uzma Yakoob, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Entrepreneur and Make-Up Brand Owner
Lives: London, UK
Uzma describes herself as confident, creative and spiritual, though says she can lack patience. She has set up a non-profit organisation to help women reach out to one another in times of need and lists being nominated for an Asian Women of Achievement Awards as one of her greatest business achievements. She says the brand she is most inspired by is MAC, because they have created a product that most women think they can't live without.
She says: "If I believe in something, I will go to the end to make sure it's done."
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Myles Mordaunt, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Marketing Company Co-Founder
Lives: Monaco, Monaco
Myles has lived in Monaco for the past 10 years and says that people would describe him as passionate, charming and determined, but he can be too much of a perfectionist. He was a professional racing driving for a short period of time and he now works in luxury brand marketing. He says the business figures that most inspire him are Bernie Ecclestone and Richard Branson, for their vision and commercial power.
He says: "I'm business perfection personified."
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Jordan Poulton, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Business Analyst
Lives: London, UK
Jordan says his first experience in business was at the age of six, selling his family's litter of kittens in the playground. He describes himself as optimistic, charismatic and calm under pressure, though he thinks he can also be unforgiving and finds it difficult to ask for help. He enjoys going to technology events and recording his own podcasts and is passionate about encouraging young people to start their own businesses.
He says: "I've worked in third world countries and first world countries. I know what it's like to struggle to feed kids and I know what it's like to fly in a private jet."
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Tim Stillwell, one of the contestants in this year's BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Occupation: Mexican Food Entrepreneur
Lives: Birmingham, UK
Tim lists his passions in life as food, travel, business and money, and the achievement he is most proud of is launching a business while still studying in his final year at university. He describes himself as happy-go-lucky, energetic and with a 'never give up' attitude, though admits he can lack focus. Moving up from his first job on a paper round to starting a leaflet distribution service before founding his catering company, Tim now wants to use business as a vehicle to bring new culinary experiences to people.
He says: "I'm definitely a team player. I'm not a lone ranger in any sense of the word."