The Apprentice: Sunderland’s Katie Bulmer-Cooke beats the boys into the boardroom

Sunderland's Katie Bulmer-Cooke, who made her debut on The Apprentice tonight.
Sunderland's Katie Bulmer-Cooke, who made her debut on The Apprentice tonight.
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BUDDING business champ Katie Bulmer-Cooke has survived her first task on The Apprentice.

The 29-year-old made her bow on the hit BBC One show tonight.

The mum-of-one, from Ashbrooke, Sunderland, was part of a female team that came out on top in the task set by Lord Sugar which saw them selling an array of items from a choice of hot dogs, t-shirts and coffee, leaving the boys to face a grilling in the boardroom.

And that meant 35-year-old company director Chiles Cartwright, leader of the most poorly performing of two male sub-teams, was left “gutted” as he became the first candidate to be fired from this year’s The Apprentice after Lord Sugar failed to buy into his sales tactics.

Katie, who won 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, will be back on television tonight as the 1 remaining hopefuls carry out the next task set by Lord Sugar, hoping to win the £250,000 prize.

And she is being tipped to impress by lecturers at New College Durham, where she used to study sport.

Peter Morrison, one of Katie’s former sport lecturers, who is now Head of School for Sport, Business, Public Services and IT at New College Durham, said: “We are delighted to hear that Katie has been chosen to appear on The Apprentice.

“We are extremely proud of Katie and she returned to New College Durham in March 2013 as a guest speaker to inspire our current cohort of students.

“She is an excellent role model and shows what can be achieved with hard work and dedication. We wish her all the best and are as impressed as we were with her knowledge and skills.”

Axed Cartwright, 35, fell foul of the show boss after contestants were split into male and female teams and asked to take on all of the sales challenges featured from the previous nine series in a bid to grab the largest profit.

He said: “I’m absolutely gutted about coming out first, I would have loved to have been in longer, but I don’t really look back on things. If I woke up in the morning and someone said to me, ‘You can be on The Apprentice for one episode,’ I’d still take it.

“I was concerned about going out in the first week because it’s not enough time to get to know people, if I could have stayed for a couple of weeks my ability would have shone through. I still feel I would have been the most credible candidate in the process, had I survived after week one.

“On the boys team we backed each other a lot which is quite tricky, especially in the boardroom, to make sure no one gets pushed out. I felt I had backing from everyone, but Mark (Wright) saw I was in trouble and thought he’d give me a bit more of a push.

“When you’re a team leader, you find a lot of other people come out of their shell. When you’re choosing a leader they’re all a bit quiet, and then all of a sudden they think they could do a better job of winning the task.

“As soon as we’d lost the task, I thought it would be either me or Felipe going. It puts you right in the firing line. I’d quite like not to have been in that position I guess, but I did everything I thought was right at the time. I would have done everything differently looking back, but at the time you have to make decisions and you can’t regret them.”

The Apprentice continues tonight on BBC One at 9pm.