Roisin Hogan exits ‘The Apprentice’ but wins admirers

Cantillon: ‘calculated risk-taker’ emerges with unusual dignity from ‘the process’

‘Apprentice’ contestant Roisin Hogan: Karren Brady weighed in with magic verdict, ‘I like her style.’ Photograph: Jim Marks

‘Apprentice’ contestant Roisin Hogan: Karren Brady weighed in with magic verdict, ‘I like her style.’ Photograph: Jim Marks

 

She might not have survived this week’s penultimate episode without hearing the words “you’re fired”, but Irishwoman Roisin Hogan’s performance on the current BBC series of The Apprentice has been impressive.

The 33-year-old chartered accountant, who left a good, safe job to pursue her ambition of becoming a food entrepreneur, saw her business plan savaged by Alan Sugar’s crack team of bulldog interviewers, but she still emerged from the process with an unusual amount of dignity for a reality series.

Over the course of the show’s weekly tasks, Hogan created an educational geography board game called GeoKnow that stood up to the rigours of product testing and she purchased a wholesale diamond for such a knock-down price that her teammate compared her negotiation tactics to “a heist”.

Probably the best endorsement of her skills, however, came from Sugar’s sidekick Karren Brady, who weighed in with the magic verdict, “I like her style.” She wasn’t talking about her clothes.

Hogan, who is from Sandymount in Dublin, is now establishing her health food business, Nudels by Roisin, without the backing of Sugar and the £250,000 investment that is the winner’s prize. She has listened to the criticism and reduced the scale of her business plan – her ambition, mocked by Sugar, had been to go global – but she hasn’t given up on the merits of her product idea.

Surrounded by what we might politely call strong personalities, Hogan remained diplomatic and calm. “A calculated risk-taker” was how she described herself on her application form. Submitting to the bloodbath of humiliation and backbiting that is The Apprentice and exiting with her held head high appears to have been one such calculated risk.