Luisa Zissman lifts the lid on her Apprentice experience

Luisa Zissman - (C) Boundless

Luisa Zissman - (C) Boundless - Credit: BBC/Boundless

TWELVE weeks on The Apprentice has shown Luisa Zissman is not one to take things lying down. But who would have guessed just hours after getting the brush off from Lord Sugar she would have more than a dozen investors interested in her baking venture?

The cupcake queen from St Albans narrowly missed out on going into partnership with the business tycoon when he hired Leah Totton during last Wednesday’s final.

Yet the straight-talking brunette has admitted losing was a blessing in disguise now she is on track to raise £500,000 to launch Bakers Toolkit after pitching for funding through locally-based company Angels Den.

She told the Herts Advertiser: “I didn’t win The Apprentice but I feel like I have come out of this a winner because I have achieved my goal of gaining investment for my business that I have great belief in.

“Angels Den gives people like me the opportunity to reach out to investors. It is like dating for entrepreneurs and they really match people up well. I am obviously grateful to them for seeing the potential in Bakers Toolkit.”

Luisa already has three successful businesses including a baking website and cupcake shop so why you ask did she apply for The Apprentice?

“Ultimately I went in because I wanted to win. I have always been a fan of the show and thought I could do a better job especially when the format changed to that of being an investment,” she confessed.

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Looking back the 26-year-old made no bones about finding the first few weeks difficult despite showing seemingly unwavering confidence: “I think the hardest thing was the other people. In everyday life I am the boss and I am not used to anyone arguing with me.

“You are with people who feel like they are as strong as you and I found that really tough. Unfortunately if your voice is not loud enough you are not going to be heard but fortunately I have a big gob.”

Luisa has been a controversial candidate throughout the series and will go down in Apprentice history for ‘brow-beating’ Jason into resigning as project manager.

But love her or hate her Lord Sugar clearly saw something in her, and as 14 candidates received their marching orders, the mum-of-one held her own.

When asked why in the end he didn’t pick her business plan she replied: “I am already doing something similar and I think he saw that. I think he was a bit like ‘Yes you don’t need me’.”

And on best friend in the show Leah, she explained she was more deserving of the win: “To be honest I couldn’t be happier for her. I think I would have been more disappointed if I had lost out to somebody who I didn’t have as much respect for. She is an incredible girl.”

Away from the programme Luisa became one of the most talked about candidates when raunchy Facebook photos of her were leaked to the press.

Locally she also received a Twitter bashing from some residents, and has revealed she had a death threat sent to her cupcake shop in Market Place.

Opening up about being thrust into the spotlight she said: “The thing is I was one of the bigger personalities in the process and I am a bit colourful and outspoken. I am a bit like Marmite, you either love me or hate me.

“Being in the limelight is very surreal and you don’t know what you are signing up for but it can be intrusive at times.”

So what does the future hold for our business-minded beauty? Well, she is not ruling out the possibility of another stint on a reality TV show saying she would consider Dancing on Ice and I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

She is also looking forward to launching Bakers Toolkit later this year and will continue to promote business in St Albans: “I think people thought ‘She is not going to go far’ and I am really happy to be able to get to the final and prove I am really capable.

“I do know what I am doing and I am very good in business and I am pleased that The Apprentice showed that.”