Apprentice final in sight for St Albans’ Luisa

Luisa Zissman, Leah Totton and Francesca MacDuff-Varley at their Shoreditch shop

Luisa Zissman, Leah Totton and Francesca MacDuff-Varley at their Shoreditch shop - Credit: Archant

THE final is in her sights and Luisa Zissman from TV’s The Apprentice is proving to be a strong contender in the fight to become Lord Sugar’s business partner.

Viewers saw the 26-year-old win her fifth challenge tonight when the remaining hopefuls were tasked with growing a business from scratch in 48 hours.

Speaking to the group, Lord Sugar congratulated them for getting this far in the process, before splitting the final six contestants into boys versus girls.

Luisa was full of confidence the girls’ team would be victorious, commenting: “We have so totally something to prove to those stupid boys. They’ve got Myles, boring. Jordan hasn’t really sold that much. And Neil is really strong but [on] sales, we’re stronger.”

For Evolve, Leah and Luisa both volunteered to take the role of project manager but Francesca decided to opt for the St Albans cupcake shop owner due to her retail experience.

The businesswomen got a head start on the boys when they quickly agreed on investing Lord Sugar’s £150, given to them to set up a stall in Spitalfields Market, on low-cost hats and leggings.

After the fashion items proved popular with punters at the market, the next day following advice to “smell what sells” the trio used their profits to buy more hats to fill a shop in Shoreditch.

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Suitably impressed with the mum-of-one, Lord Sugar’s aide Nick Hewer said: “I’ve had a few question marks over Luisa in the past couple of weeks but yesterday she came into her own. She is a retailer.

“Today I think she is leading a happy team and she is doing well.”

This week’s battle of the sexes ended in triumph for the girls, who finished with assets of £809.05, compared with the boys’ £550.26.

Luisa and her teammates celebrated reaching the final five by dining at a unique restaurant, while a disappointed Myles was fired.

Next week as series nine draws to a close there will be two episodes of The Apprentice, including a special show on Monday which profiles the final five and airs on BBC1 at 9pm. This will feature interviews with Herts Advertiser editor Matt Adams and reporter Samantha Lewis, who take a look back at Luisa’s time in the process. The second show is on Wednesday.