Harpreet Kaur has made history as the first British Asian winner of The Apprentice.
Born in Birmingham and growing up in West Yorkshire, Huddersfield entrepreneur Harpreet Kaur wowed Lord Alan Sugar on season 16 of the show and ended up winning a £250,000 investment in her dessert business, beating out competition Kathryn Burn, who wanted the quarter of a million capital for her online luxury family pyjama store.
Previously called Barni’s Desserts, the sweet treat business has gone through a rebrand to Oh So Yum.
With a split partnership between herself and her sister, Gurvinder, Ms Kaur owns two stores – a flagship restaurant in Huddersfield town centre and a kiosk in Leeds White Rose Shopping Centre, with plans of rapid expansion in the near future.
In the penultimate episode, Ms Kaur underwent a gruelling interview by Claude Littner, a businessman and personal friend of Lord Sugar, who mentioned the fact that she is not the sole owner of the dessert shop.
Unperturbed by this, Ms Kaur revealed that she had talked with her sister, who was willing for her to carry the business on herself.
Thankfully, Lord Sugar did not mind this and decided to go into business with both entrepreneurs.
At a viewing party in Huddersfield last night, it was revealed to the world that Ms Kaur was this year’s winner.
Ms Kaur said: “I found out last week when Lord Sugar gave both me and Kathryn a call to let us know the outcome. It has been a crazy week to keep it all a big secret, but I wanted to wait for everyone to find out when watched the show.
“It felt surreal when I got the call. You are just so happy, thankful, grateful, blessed. I could not believe that he is going to invest in me – he is Lord Sugar, a business tycoon. I am so happy that he saw the potential in me.”
Ms Kaur is the first South Asian person to win the show, which she said was one of the “biggest things” for her, to represent northern South Asian businesswomen.
The dessert restaurateur said: “Winning The Apprentice as a South Asian woman is one of the biggest things, for me.
“I am so happy that I am the first British Asian to achieve that investment, especially as a woman. I hope that it boosts the Asian community, especially Asian women, I think it is really important to use platforms like The Apprentice to get ourselves out there and represent.
“There are so many Asian businessmen and women. I don’t think a British Asian person has got to this stage in The Apprentice since Saira Khan who was the runner-up to Tim Campbell.”
She added: “Everyone is so proud, my sister and I have worked so hard over the past year on the business, I feel as if this is going to take it to the next level.
“Last night we had hundreds of thousands of visitors to the website, it went down for about 10-15 minutes. It is back up now and anyone can order some of our goodies to be delivered to the whole of the UK.”
One of the entrepreneur’s favourite moments of the show – apart from winning – was the cooking challenge in episode four, which she won. She said: “My favourite moment of the show was the cooking tasks – they were so fun, and I felt naturally confident. Walking in for the first time and meeting all the candidates was also great, as I was living through the experience of something of which I had only ever dreamt.”