Stella English beats Chris Bates in a close final to win The Apprentice

The 31-year-old, from St Alban’s Hertfordshire, will work as a product manager for the computer manufacturing firm Viglen, after impressing it’s hard to please owner, Lord Sugar with her determination and dedication on the 12-week programme.
After being told she had won the job, an emotional Stella struggled to hold back her tears as she said: ‘Thank you, Lord Sugar, thank you.’
English added ‘To think that little Stella could be the winner of The Apprentice is unbelievable.
‘I’m so excited about the future – it’s all been worth it, all that blood, sweat and tears has been worth it.’
Explaining his decision, Lord Sugar said: ‘What I’ve seen over the past weeks Stella is that clearly you are a great organiser of people. You do know how to handle a team. 
‘Well liked and determined to get on with whatever you’re asked to do, I’ve also taken note of where you have come from; the fact that at an early age you never had any qualifications and then went out of your way to train yourself. 
Meanwhile, a thrilled English said: ‘I felt I would win. I know that if I set my heart on something I will achieve it.
‘I know I came across as quiet serious and competitive but that is me in a business situation but I do have a softer side.’
The final saw Lord Sugar at London’s Langham Hotel where the finalists where told that they would have to brand and launch a new spirit-based drink for the over-25s, which retails at £25, in just three days.
To help the finalists out, Lord Sugar had employed the talents of eight of the show’s former candidates with Chris chosing Jamie, Liz, Alex, Shibby, Stella opted for Joanna, Chris Farrell, Melissa, Paloma.
While Chris’s team decided to go for a mixture of white rum, spices and aromatic bitters, he and Liz disagreed on the colour of the liquid as Chris wanted a clear drink, while Liz chose a pink liquid which Chris called ‘cheap and gimmicky’. He eventually decided to call the drink Prism.
Meanwhile, on Stella’s team decided to remarket the traditional Bourbon spirit by coming up with a new liquid called Urbon – a mixture of Bourbon with honey and spice.
Lord Sugar added: ‘They’ve both demonstrated that they can work under immense pressure.
Before making his decision Lord Sugar gave the finalists the opportunity to sell themselves for a final time.
English said: ‘I think I’ve been very consistent in everything that I’ve done. But I think my mistake is that I haven’t spoke up for myself. 
‘I’m somebody that has to come up with new ideas and I’m constantly driving things. I’m not somebody who needs to be given instruction. I’ve got the best record in the process for a reason.
‘I’ve taken a big risk here. I’ve got a family to support and I’ve walked away from a job that I do like. I think you’d be mad not to employ me. Chris is an intelligent guy but I don’t think he’s got the passion that I’ve got.
‘Anything I want I will get, I won’t let go. That’s a passion that enables you to do things that you never thought were possible.’
Bates then said: ‘Throughout this process, I’ve outperformed other people. I’ve been a top seller, I’ve pitched to retailers. To do out that against people who have a lot more experience than me, I think shows a lot of potential.
‘I will bring that to your organisation. I would like to think if I came into your organisation I would bring in real value.’
Lord Sugar concluded the process telling both candidates: ‘You’re both very passionate about wanting this job. Stella, you’re clearly a great organiser of people, you know how to handle your teams. 
‘You’re well liked and determined to get in with whatever you’re asked to do. I’ve also taken note of from where you have come – you went out of your way to get yourself back into education and get yourself the job you want.
‘Chris, you’re young but that could be a good thing. You’ve shown some great entrepreneurial ideas – some of them a bit wacky and some of them quite good.
‘One of you is going to be very disappointed. I don’t worry about the other person because I think we have two great people here who can hold their head up high, whatever,
‘It’s a tough decision but the decision I’ve come to is that Stella, you’re hired!’
This is the last time that Lord Sugar will hire an apprentice to work for him – the winner of the 2011 series will get to build up a business of their choice with the former business tsar.
The winning candidate will receive a start-up cash injection of £250,000 with Lord Sugar taking an equal equity stake in the venture as the winning entrepreneur. 
Lord Sugar said that these changes were a reflection of economic conditions and the move to invest in a business came at a time when the SME business sector was more important than ever.
Read past Winner Lee McQueen’s analysis of each episode and the candidates who fell short during the 12 week process here