Lord Sugar has hired his new Apprentice – and will be going into business with Carina Lepore after picking the artisan bakery owner as this year’s winner.
Carina, 30, from south London, beat 32-year-old recruitment consultant Scarlett Allen-Horton in the final of the BBC One contest on Wednesday.
Carina will now use Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment to attempt to build an empire of high street bakeries.
“It’s been an amazing, amazing achievement for myself,” she said.
Carina currently runs the Dough Artisan Bakehouse in Herne Hill – with her father as head baker – and has said she wants a branch on “every high street across the UK”.
Carina impressed Lord Sugar by being on the winning team in nine out of the 10 tasks during the series, including winning all three episodes in which she was project manager.
“First of all, I think the amount of tasks she won and the manner in which she won really showed that she knows what she’s doing as far as business is concerned,” the business mogul said afterwards.
Lord Sugar took into account the high demand for cafés and food outlets, whereas he had invested in two recruitment firms in the past.
While weighing up his decision, he told the finalists: “When you look at the high street these days, that’s all it’s packed with – food.
“Scarlett – two past winners are recruitment companies, and do I want to throw more eggs into that basket?”
In Wednesday’s final, Carina and Scarlett were asked to create digital screen and TV adverts for their proposed businesses, and present them to Lord Sugar and 250 experts at London’s City Hall.
After being hired, Carina told the Press Association news agency: “It’s like this euphoric relief. I was so overwhelmed and so happy. It’s a feeling that I haven’t really felt.
“Me and Scarlett said it the whole way through – we have got massive respect for each other. She is a great businesswoman and she was tough competition for me. I knew that.
“To get told ‘You’re hired’ by Lord Sugar, it was an incredible feeling.”
The 15th series of the BBC One programme was popular with viewers but also made headlines away from the screen.
In October the BBC told candidate Lottie Lion that comments she made to a fellow candidate on a WhatsApp group were “unacceptable”.
It followed reports that she said “shut up Gandhi” to Lubna Farhan.