Irish doctor wins £250,000 Apprentice competition
Winner plans to offer anti-ageing skin treatments at chain of ‘Dr Leah’ clinics
Lord Sugar unveils Leah Totton as the winner of The ApprenticePhotograph: Ian West/PA Wire
From left to right: Uzma Yakoob, Myles Mordaunt, candidate Leah Totton, Francesca MacDuff-Varley and Alex Mills and Totton prepares to present her business idea to Lord Sugar. Photograph: BBC/PA Wire
Ms Totton, who works in London, was named winner of the ninth series of the BBC1 show and won £250,000 (€290,000) to invest in her business.
Ms Totton triumphed over cake shop boss and pal Luisa Zissman to secure Lord Sugar as her new business partner.
Despite Mr Sugar’s earlier worries about the ethics of her business NIKS Medical, Ms Totton managed to reduce his frown lines by ironing out the wrinkles in how her plan would work.
The finalists brought back previous candidates to help them in branding and marketing their business plans before presenting them to a room of industry experts.
But series tough cookie Ms Zissman broke down in tears after feeling she’d bungled part of her pitch and her baking supplies online wholesale business, Baker’s Toolkit, failed to rise to success in the boardroom.
Mr Sugar’s new business partner was seen bossing her team around much more than usual in the final task.
She said: “I’m hoping I keep that assertiveness. (Luisa) took some of the softer side of me and I took some of her bossiness.”
Ms Totton (25) plans to offer anti-ageing skin treatments including chemical peels and dermal fillers at a chain of clinics where she hopes to raise the standards of the beauty industry with her medical credentials.
The brand name has changed to Dr Leah at Lord Sugar’s request and Ms Totton is continuing with a masters degree as well as planning to keep her hand in clinical work as a locum.
She said she did not expect her new business partner to become a client any time soon: “I think Lord Sugar’s face is fine as it is.”
The winner also remained tight lipped about whether her fellow contestants had booked in for treatments, saying: “That’s confidential, I can’t tell you what enquiries I’ve had.”
Despite worries about her entering the tough process, the doctor said her family were “delighted” at her win: “I’m the first person in my family to have even gone to university so it’s such a massive achievement for the whole family.”
After the final was broadcast, Ms Totton tweeted that she was “totally overwhelmed”, adding: “I am delighted to have won The Apprentice & to be Lord Sugar ‘s new business partner! Very excited for Dr Leah clinics and skincare range.”
Ms Zissman added her congratulations, tweeting: “Thanks for all your love and support well done to my amazing friend Dr LeahTotton an incredible woman who will create an incredible business.”