This post was first published by My London on 19/12/2019.
Carina Lepore, 30, impressed Lord Alan Sugar with her business plan of opening an artisan bakery and secured a £250,000 investment after being told: “You’re hired.”
Carina, who reportedly opened a fashion store in Croydon when she was 18, now runs Dough Bakehouse, a trendy café next to Herne Hill station.
Before that she reportedly worked at M&S for 10 years – so its been quite the journey.
In the final of the BBC One show, the businesswoman was up against recruitment company owner Scarlett Allen-Horton, 32, after the pair were whittled down from 16 entrepreneurs.
Carina said she was “overwhelmed” after the win.
She said: “It’s like this euphoric relief. I was so overwhelmed and so happy. It’s a feeling that I haven’t really felt. It was overwhelming happiness.
“Me and Scarlett said it the whole way through – we have got massive respect for each other.
“She is a great businesswoman and she was tough competition for me. I knew that.
“To get told ‘You’re hired’ by Lord Sugar, it was an incredible feeling.”
The final, which aired on Wednesday (December 18), saw some of the candidates fired earlier in the series return to help the two remaining contestants bring their business plans to life.
Both finalists were summoned to London’s Sky Garden skyscraper and told they would need to produce a digital screen and a TV advert for their businesses.
They would both then pitch their ideas to Lord Sugar and 250 experts at City Hall.
Carina wanted a family feel for her bakery and opted for the name Lepore’s Artisan Bakehouse. The tagline was “too good to share” while the business’s slogan was “the finest in family baking”.
Meanwhile, Scarlett and her team were working away on her recruitment business, which had the aim of “promoting female, minority and diverse talent through the ranks”. They decided on the name Stanton Lily while the logo was the profile of a woman’s face with cogs where the brain should be.
Following the challenge Lord Sugar invited the pair into the boardroom for their final reckoning.
Announcing Carina as the winner, he said: “I’m trying to think of the scaling up of your business, but I like the idea of more bread – so Carina, you’re going to be my business partner.”
Carina, who often poses in photos with her son Lucas on her Instagram, opened Dough Bakehouse after her dad’s bakery burnt down in 2017.
Ye Olde Bakery, in Herne Hill, opened in 2009 and was reportedly a busy lunch spot.
But it burnt down two years ago and Carina took the opportunity to start a business of her own – and she hasn’t looked back since.
Following her win on The Apprentice, Carina said she was an “inside-out fan” and had watched every one of the previous 14 series before applying.
She added: “I watched last year. I know who won last year, the year before, the year before, the year before. I watched them all with my family every year. It’s a routine.”
“The show has always been to my interest – business mixed with entertainment.
“It’s an incredible show and it’s been an incredible process to be part of. The whole journey has been amazing.”
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Original Article Link: https://www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-mum-who-runs-south-17444415