In the end it came down to a simple choice: Ricky’s relatively safe recruitment start-up versus Tom’s high-risk/high-return fine wine hedge fund.
Nick’s recipe ingredient-purchasing application was deemed too complicated and unlikely to generate the promised returns, while Jade’s plan to set up an outbound telemarketing operation had too many flaws and negative connotations to be viable. Lord Sugar had to make a decision between two well-matched and equally impressive candidates, and ultimately it was Ricky who he selected as his business partner.
Tom bore up well under the intense scrutiny of the interviews, exhibiting the cool head he had shown throughout the tasks. He was congratulated by free magazine pioneer Mike Soutar for his “very sophisticated business plan”, while telecoms entrepreneur Matthew Riley added that it was “one of the best-written business plans I’ve ever read”. But ultimately it came down to a personal preference for Lord Sugar, and the idea of wine investment just didn’t suit his palate.
Other amusing and bemusing highlights of the final interviews included:
- Mike Soutar telling Jade he had bought one of the website domain names she was planning to trade under.
- Nick getting away with calling Margaret Mountford ‘Margaret’, an informality which Stuart Baggs ‘the Brand’ was eviscerated for at his interview two years ago.
- Claude Littner admitting about Ricky: “I spent a sleepless night with excitement as to how I was going to rip him apart. However, in truth I’m mesmerised by the guy.”
Tom Gearing consistently speaks up with common sense in a non-threatening manner. He is one of my favourites.
Entrepreneur, wine connoisseur, heartthrob and TV star. The traits of Tom Gearing make the 23-year-old sound more James Bond than Apprentice...
Tom was in control and implemented a risky strategy of quality and desirability of product over quantity. This proved to be a winning strategy and his experience shone through...Tom understood the task and remained confident with the risks he took. Demonstrating drive and determinism as well as competitiveness and knowledge
Is this man, Tom Gearing really a candidate? He belongs on the pages of omg! He's got that sultry stare perfected already.
What an enigmatic bloke! He is very quietly spoken with remarkable composure, which means that when he does talk people listen to him. And he is bright, a strategist, thoughtful.
Tom shot to stardom for being the best dressed man on television (pretty much single handedly bringing back the tie clip in the process), but more poignantly for showing business wisdom and entrepreneurial nous way beyond his years.