Sunderland fitness trainer Katie Bulmer-Cooke in BBC’s The Apprentice

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AWARD-winning entrepreneur Katie Bulmer-Cooke is looking forward to putting Lord Sugar through his paces.

Katie, who scooped the New Business of the Year trophy at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards two years ago for her online personal fitness and training business The Little Black Dress Club, is among the line-up for the tenth series of BBC1’s smash hit series The Apprentice, which kicks off next week.

Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2012 held at the Stadium of Light - Young Business of the Year winner was the Little Black Dress Club and Mel Donaghue, head of outbound telephony at Barclays presented the award to Katie Bulmer-Cooke.

Sunderland Echo Portfolio Business Awards 2012 held at the Stadium of Light - Young Business of the Year winner was the Little Black Dress Club and Mel Donaghue, head of outbound telephony at Barclays presented the award to Katie Bulmer-Cooke.

The mum-of-one, who describes herself as ‘honest, down-to-earth and energetic,’ is hoping her low-profile approach will see off the more brash competition in a show in which self-esteem is never at a premium.

She said: “In business I’m like a little stealth bomber that flies under the radar and smashes the competition before they’ve even realised I’m here.”

TV stardom is just the latest step in a remarkable business journey which has seen the 29-year-old mum-of-one from Ashbrooke establish her own internationally-successful business, be named UK Fitness Professional of the Year 2013 and even picked as High Street giant Argos’ resident health and fitness expert.

Katie’s competition this year includes a burlesque dancer, a hypnotherapist with her own matchmaking firm, and a pub quiz boss, each hoping to impress Lord Sugar and his advisors Baroness Brady and Nick Hewer in an effort to win a quarter of a million pounds investment in their businesses.

The run will this year feature 20 contestants – four more than normal – but the show will last the usual 12 weeks, which means more than one elimination on a number of shows.

The candidates for the tenth series include 26-year-old Jemma Bird, a trained dancer with her own troupe whose repertoire includes burlesque routines, and Sarah Dales, 32, who set up a Harley Street hypnotherapy practice in addition to operating a dating firm.

Among the 10 male contestants is Daniel Lassman, 27, who has an events company which runs quizzes, and who has spent a year as a professional footballer and also as a market trader. The boys also include Steven Ugoalah, a Canadian social worker who spent a year working in the Arctic Circle with remote Inuit communities.

Tasks which feature in the new series will range from designing wearable technology, creating an online video channel, running coach tours and launching a soft drink brand – with contestants desperate to avoid facing Lord Sugar’s wagging finger as he despatches them from the show with his catchphrase: “You’re fired.”

The series begins with a double bill next week with programmes on consecutive days, Tuesday and Wednesday, before settling into a regular midweek 9pm slot.