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Proof of Apprentice star’s promise is in the pudding

BOARD GAMES: Bianca Miller

STRAIGHT-TALKING ENTREPRENEUR Bianca Miller is still on track to become Lord Sugar’s business partner having survived a double elimination after completing the ‘premium pudding’ task to make it to the final five.

The south London businesswoman, who runs her own personal branding company, will now be grilled by the veteran’s network of trusted associates to see if she has what it takes to be one of two contenders competing for a £250,000 investment deal.

Throughout the 10th series of the BBC show, the 25-year-old University of Sussex graduate has had her ups and downs.

Earlier in the competition, she had put her team in jeopardy when she offered one small shop exclusive rights to stock a board game in the London borough of Westminster in exchange for selling just six boxes.

It meant her teammate James Hill could not forge a bigger deal elsewhere and led to the pair clashing in what was described as the bust-up of the series. The following week she redeemed herself by leading her team to victory as project manager delivering a stellar pitch to advertising executives in New York.

COMPETITION

Bianca’s fiancé and partner of seven years, Byron Cole, told The Voice that he could not have been more proud of how she handled James – and herself – throughout the competition.

He said: “Bianca dealt with James extremely well – I don’t know if I would have been as gracious as she was in the aftermath.

“My personal view is that he doesn’t seem to respond well to authority, particularly from women. It wasn’t just Bianca he clashed with – he also had run-ins with Roisin.”

But being a “true professional” is one of Bianca’s strongest qualities as a businesswoman, her partner explained.

He said: “It’s interesting how they edit the show, but she is coming across quite well now and is looking stronger and stronger. She made a few boo boos but you can tell she is over that now. Bianca is a true professional. Some may cut corners or leave a loose end to the side and deal with it later, but Bianca does not operate like that.

“She is a strong advocate for women in doing serious business and that is why I knew exactly how she would react when Sarah [Dales] suggested in week one that the women should ‘get their legs’ out to sell. Her reaction was a bit more light-hearted than it may have been in the outside world.”

Bianca, who grew up in Thornton Heath, south London and attended the independent Sydenham High School, comes from a family of entrepreneurs.

Her father runs a successful kitchen business and her mother has always been self-employed, working as a celebrity make-up artist with clients such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys and Alesha Dixon.

After graduating from the University of Sussex in business management and economics, Bianca worked as an office temp before joining Accenture, one of the world’s largest and most reputable consulting firms as a HR advisor to a third of the 1,000-strong graduate pool.

While at Accenture she conceptualised the Preparing for Promotion initiative to help the graduates develop the skills to aid their career advancement. From there, she progressed to a new position at a top financial recruitment firm, which is where she began to notice that the line between success and failure was determined by the way professionals marketed themselves.

This inspired her to start her own business, The Be Group - a personal branding service, in 2012. It now counts some of Britain’s leading law firms and banks as clients, which contributed to her being named Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Precious Awards in October. Cole revealed that despite being a fan of the show, Bianca had been reluctant to apply and she only agreed to enter after he repeatedly emailed her the application form.

He said: “Like everybody else, Bianca and I watch television and shout at the screen but we’re the kind of people who think if we can do it better, we should – not just talk about it.

“I knew Bianca would be amazing on the show. She is a good businesswoman, a good role model and it’s easy to forget she was only 25 during the filming because she is very mature. I call her ‘a steady’.”

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