'You're fired,' entrepreneurs tell Lord Sugar

The boardroom equivalent of feeding Christians to the lions, 'The Apprentice', returns next week as a chorus of business figures say it is time to show the programme the door. Here, the IoS canvasses the views of some of the UK's best business brains


Vince Cable, Business Secretary

"The dog-eat-dog approach isn't how good companies operate. That world is out there, certainly in parts of the City. But that's not the way to generate commitment and support from employees."

James Caan, Entrepreneur and former Dragons' Den panellist

"The show is as much about entertainment as business. I would like to see more real-life content: half the series on how they get the job and the other half on how they do it."

Charlie Mullins, Managing director, Pimlico Plumbers

"It should be put down like the rabid dog it has become. If there was anything useful about it when it began, then this hollow version is not only a caricature of business, but a poor caricature of itself."

Rachel Elnaugh, Entrepreneur and former Dragons' Den panellist

"The Apprentice promotes an outdated alpha-male way of business – winning at the expense of others. Today's breed of business is more supportive and collaborative – more feminine."

Roger Philby, Founder, the Chemistry Group recruitment agency

"The vast percentage of the competitors are dimwits who wouldn't last five minutes in any business. Real business is slightly less exciting and far scarier than anything they'll face on the show."

Paul Houlding, Chief executive, advertising agency Isobel

"It is little more than an extended audition for media hopefuls. As a game show it's great – as a show providing an insight into modern business practice The Apprentice has a lot to learn."

Lord Bilimoria, Co-founder, Cobra Beer

"As an entrepreneur the whole concept of 'you're fired' is so far from reality and is just not the way one would run a business. But in terms of engaging the public it is fantastic."

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, Founder of jobs website PeoplePerHour.com

"It's about as relevant to the business world as the Royal Wedding is to prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. These reality TV shows are totally misleading about what it means to be an entrepreneur."

Mark Fenton-O'Creevy, Professor of organisational behaviour, the Open University Business School

"At its best it helps us to understand the world of direct sales. At its worst it presents a damaging and misleading account of what good businesses look for."

Nick Bolton, Chief executive, Oxford Metrics Group

"It is not business programming, but it is a fun game show. It teaches you no more about business than Bullseye teaches you how to win the World Darts Championship."

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