Alana Spencer says sharing Lord Sugar's youthful entrepreneurial background helped her win The Apprentice final over Courtney Wood
A self-described adaptable businesswoman, cake company owner Alana Spencer has won series 12 of The Apprentice.
The 24-year-old Welshwoman set up her first business when she was still at school and would go from classroom to classroom selling chocolate.
Seven years later, Alana has won a £250,000 investment from the renowned businessman.
On her early start to business, she told the Press Association: “It’s mad. My best mate in school would come round all the classrooms with me and we’d get a little order form and get that made up and get the orders for Christmas.
“And then the second year I did that I got quite a large order for a corporate gift so that took up a lot of time, and then basically it just went from strength-to-strength.
“And I left school to do it. It just organically changed from chocolates to cakes.”
Her entrance into the business world at such a young age may have impressed Lord Sugar this year, but it didn’t in 2009 when Alana unsuccessfully applied to appear on the Junior Apprentice.
“I got so far in the audition process and didn’t get any further, didn’t get on the show. And then I applied again when I was 24 and made it on. Never lost the dream.”
The entrepreneur faced Lord Sugar three times in the firing line, but managed to save herself each time.
And the business magnate may find himself struggling to control Alana, who told the BBC when applying for The Apprentice that he might find her ‘a bit demanding’.
She added: “If I know something’s a good idea I’m going to push it through. It is much better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. Be a bit cheeky in life.”
She also told the Press Association the win was ‘incredible’ and ‘hasn’t quite sunk in’.
Lord Sugar was just 16 when he set up his own business and Alana said her own determination as a teenager worked in her favour.
She said: “I think he admires people that go out and do it for themselves.
“Most of us had our own businesses, but I think the fact I started so young was definitely a factor in it.
“It’s mad. I started it when I was in school. It started as a chocolate company and then developed into cakes.
“I left school to do it. It just organically changed from chocolates to cakes.
“It’s gone from strength to strength and it’s a good small business, but I really want to make it a big business – and what better way to do that than get Lord Sugar on board.”
Asked if Lord Sugar had tried her cakes, Alana said she ‘did leave him a box’ and is ‘hoping he has tried it’.
Sunday night’s finale saw Alana and Courtney Wood joined by a number of their former Apprentice colleagues as they pitched their business plans to more than 200 industry experts including Lord Sugar.
They were tasked with creating a brand for their business and unveiling an advertising campaign before being summoned to the boardroom.
Courtney said he was ‘genuinely happy’ for Alana, adding: ‘I couldn’t ask to be runner-up to a nicer girl’.