HE MAY have heard the dreaded “You're fired!” sooner than anyone expected, but The Apprentice contestant Chiles Cartwright says he would still do it all again.
The 36-year-old company director from Prees Green was the first candidate to be ejected, from the 10th series of the popular BBC entrepreneurial programme when it launched on Tuesday night.
But speaking to the Whitchurch Herald the following morning, he said it had all been worthwhile.
“I am massively gutted. I didn’t think I would be the first one out – I thought I’d got what it takes to go the distance. But a couple of bad decisions on the day and that was it.”
Chiles found Lord Alan Sugar’s pointed finger aiming straight at him after making the fateful decision to leave a haul of T-shirts at the printers as his sub-team found themselves against the clock in the first sales task.
He continued: “That was a bad decision. But I’m just gutted I didn’t get further.
“As a team we worked really well. Felipe [Alviar-Baquero, project manager] was really good and we made good decisions. We thought [as a team] we had done enough, especially when it became apparent that the girls had struggled.
“Nobody can prepare you for how intense it is. The tasks aren’t particularly tough, but getting everybody with lots of different egos and characters together, when everybody wants to be the leader and wants to get themselves ahead, it’s tough.”
But sadly the boys, named ‘Summit’ suffered a narrow defeat of just over £50.
Viewers of the show will also know how Chiles struggled to manage Canadian social worker Steven Ugoalah, who Lord Sugar himself said was “disruptive”.
Chiles said: “He was massively difficult to manage. He had a lot of creative ideas which he would tell people about all the time but not all of them were good. But now I’m out I don’t hold a grudge – there’s no professional malice.”
In the boardroom, where Chiles found himself in the final three alongside Felipe and rival contestant Robert Goodwin, Lord Sugar decided Chile’s decision to sell potatoes and cleaning products rather than return to collect and sell the printed T-shirts had led to the failure.
He told the self-confessed ‘golden boy’: “Chiles, one of the reasons I allowed you into this process is because I think, here’s a man who has actually been there, started at the bottom, built up his own businesses – and fundamental business errors in the T-shirt thing is unforgivable. Because clearly, whatever you sold those T-shirts for, you most probably would have won this task.”
Chiles said: “I knew as soon as we lost that one of the team leaders would go, if not both of us, as there are 20 contestants this year and Lord Sugar warned there could be double or even triple firings. So I was confident there was good chance. However I think Nick’s [Hewer, Lord Sugar’s aide] comments that I had made Steven a ‘scapegoat’ was a little bit harsh.
“Even so, it was an amazing experience. If someone said I could go back for just one task I would because it was wonderful; it’s just unfortunate I fell at the first hurdle.
“It does feel brief – I was only in there a week, but it was an amazing week and I would do it all again; I’d definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to go into business.”
And he says the experience hasn’t knocked his confidence as he still plans to launch the luxury sports clothing brand that he had hoped to work with Lord Sugar on had he won the contest and the golden £250,000 investment from the renowned entrepreneur.
He added: “Yes, it does include selling T-shirts ironically, but the idea is to set it up and give half the profits to charity, such as a children’s running club, and reinvest the remaining half back into the business. I’m still hoping to launch it, it’s just on the back-burner for now.”
The remaining 11 weeks will be just as much of a surprise to Chiles as everyone else as he admitted he is clueless as to what happened after he left.
lThe second of the opening double-bill of this year’s The Apprentice show saw the first double firing as marketing manager Robert Goodwin, who escaped Lord Sugar’s pointed finger in the first episode, and clinical development strategist Scott McCulloch, left the show.
See full story in the Whitchurch Herald