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We should ignore gender in business, says Apprentice winner Harpreet

The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur will receive an investment from Lord Sugar (Ian West/PA)
The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur will receive an investment from Lord Sugar (Ian West/PA)

The Apprentice winner Harpreet Kaur has said it is time to start ignoring gender in business as she revealed she is “hungrier than ever” after her success on the show’s 16th series.

Kaur won the BBC One business reality show after defeating Kathryn Burn in the final on Thursday.

As the winner, Kaur, 30, will receive a £250,000 investment in her dessert parlour business and enter a partnership with business magnate Lord Alan Sugar.

After finding out she had been selected as Lord Sugar’s new business partner, Kaur revealed that although she is pleased to be a female winner, she believes it is time to “delete these titles” and put an end to paying attention to whether an individual in business is male or female.

Harpreet Kaur won after competing against Kathryn Burn in the final of The Apprentice series 16 (Ian West/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “I absolutely loved that it was an all female final because I love empowering women, I hope that I can inspire many women that you need to follow your dreams, go and smash your goals, go and get them.

“But I also do feel that we need to sort of delete these titles out there in business, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.

“If you can set your eyes on something, and you’re going to make a success of yourself, go for it. It doesn’t really matter what gender you are.

“And I think, again, through the process, that’s what Lord Sugar is about, I don’t think it matters if you’re male or female, if he recognises that someone’s worth an investment, he will do that.”

Kaur also said she is “hungrier than ever” and attributed her “tunnel vision for success” to her win.

West Yorkshire-based Kaur owns Oh So Yum! – a dessert parlour and sweet treat delivery service – with her older sister Gurvinder. The company has two locations, in Leeds and Huddersfield.

During the intensive interview segment of the show, Lord Sugar expressed concerns over the fact that Kaur only owns 50% of the business, after she failed to declare that her sister owns the remaining half.

The Apprentice
Harpreet Kaur and Kathryn Burn with Lord Sugar in the boardroom of Amshold House in Loughton, Essex (Ian West/PA)

Speaking about the challenge of having to convince Lord Sugar that her sister’s involvement would not affect the potential investment and partnership on offer, Kaur said: “For me, you know, me and my sister have built this business to the state that it’s already at and we both add that value.

“But going through The Apprentice process, it was just me and me alone. So I felt that I managed to prove to Lord Sugar that I’ve got enough standing regardless and can make a success out of anything, even if I’m stood on my own.

“So actually, I felt that it was only a benefit that I have actually got someone else on board within the company that is gonna help supercharge that growth. But I felt that through the process, he could see that I am investable as a person, even just by myself, so I didn’t see it as a risk.”

After winning the show, Kaur said she plans to “take over the dessert world,” and expand the business alongside her sister.

Kaur also revealed how she plans to celebrate her success, saying: “I’m going to get one of my cookie pies, I’m going to slice it up, I’m going to warm it up and I’m going to eat it all to myself.

“Once I’ve done that, I’ll be back at work.”

Kaur becomes the show’s 17th winner – after two candidates were offered investment in series 14 – and follows in the footsteps of the series 15 champion Carina Lepore, who also developed a business for those with a sweet tooth with her London-based bakery chain Dough Artisan Bakehouse.

Lepore won The Apprentice in 2019 before the show was forced to take a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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