An Edinburgh University graduate who describes herself as “the female Justin Bieber” is hoping to hear those two words every budding entrepreneur dreams: “You’re hired.”
Sophie Lau, 22, who graduated last year with a 2:1 in economics with management science, will be the youngest of the 16 entrants in this year’s series of the television show The Apprentice.
The winner will receive a £250,000 investment from Lord Alan Sugar, the man wielding the finger of fate over the eager contestants.
However, Sophie, who has run her Bristol-based Asian restaurant since the age of 19 and describes herself as “very competitive and ambitious” is unlikely to be cowed by her older competition.
In her audition, Sophie says she will be “extremely competitive from day one”, adding: “I’m a born entrepreneur. I’m not intimidated by anything. Women are intimidated by me because I’m young and successful.”
Sophie continued: “I’m very impatient. I do get easily annoyed by people who don’t pull their own weight, or live up to their reputation, or who try to assert their assertiveness over me when they haven’t gained my respect. If I don’t get what I want I get annoyed.”
However, a friend from her time at university says there’s far softer side to Sophie than the video may suggest.
The female friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Everyone who knows Sophie, loves her. She has a bubbly and infectious personality and was extremely popular at university. She is great fun and brilliant to be around.”
Sophie should be well prepared for taking a seat at Lord Sugar’s table, having come top of her class in a module titled Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation. However, she does admit to a weakness for mental arithmetic, which could see her struggle on some of the challenges, which involve quick-thinking and decision-making.
Her friend is sure that Sophie will do well in the famously cut-throat show.
She said: “Sophie is one who you know will succeed – highlighted by the fact she got on the show against thousand of hopefuls. She is a prime example of somebody who works hard, plays hard. Let’s get Edinburgh behind her.”
The ninth season of The Apprentice will begin on May 7 at 9pm on BBC 1. The first episode will see the contestants driven to a port in the dead of night, where each team will be given a mystery cargo to off-load by 4pm that day.
SOPHIE isn’t the first contestant on The Apprentice we have had reason to root for.
In last year’s season, Glaswegian bridal shop owner Laura Hogg, 28, was fired in week eight after an art sale challenge went badly wrong. She said: “It’s a very personal thing, art, and I think I just thought, ‘I can’t make somebody take this’. . . I wasn’t really comfortable with forcing it on people.”
The show has seen many colourful characters come and go, one of the most famous being season six’s Stuart Baggs, a 21-year-old telecoms entrepreneur from the Isle of Man. Stuart quickly became famous for sayings such as: “I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a ten-trick pony, I have a whole field of ponies – and they’re literally all running towards this job”, which were unfortunately not enough to save him from being fired in week 11.