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UK – Niche recruitment business plan wins it for Apprentice finalist

05 June 2012

A 26-year-old recruitment manager has been named this year's winner of the popular BBC TV programme, The Apprentice in which a group of business hopefuls compete to land the prestigious prize of a business partnership with Lord Alan Sugar together with an investment of up to £250,000.

Ricky Martin, who has worked for specialist recruitment firm, Matchtech, for almost six years as Recruitment Team Leader won the competition largely due to the quality of his business plan for a recruitment agency specialising in science and technology professionals. Aided by Lord Sugar, he will now go into direct competition with his previous employer. Ricky Martin told the BBC, “The first thing is to get the company set up. I need to tweak the business plan to complement Lord Sugar as he's given me some good ideas across technology functions. It's very exciting and I'm looking forward to the first board meeting. I can't wait.”

It was just as well his business plan was well crafted given that one of Lord Sugar’s advisors, Claude Littner, had described his rather grandiose personal statement as “the most crass, obnoxious, infantile, personal statement I’ve had the opportunity of reading”.

In the end, Ricky Martin’s business plan was perceived as the “safe” option compared to proposals from other finalists which included a hedge fund that allows people to make use of fine wine as an asset, a telemarketing call centre, and a website for ordering recipe ingredients. Although one of Lord Sugar’s advisor’s, Nick Hewer, went a little further and stigmatized recruitment as “pedestrian”.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts’ research, future growth opportunities within the pharmaceutical/scientific staffing sector will lie in the provision of qualified staff in the following areas: clinical trials and CRO (clinical, project management and regulatory staff); drug manufacturing and CMO (‘contract manufacturing organisations’); and sales and marketing. Nevertheless, while demographics suggest this niche recruitment sector does have positive long term prospects, it is not without its challenges; a diminishing drug pipeline, imminent patent expiries (so‐called ‘patent cliffs’), reduced spending during the recession, more stringent government regulations and heightened competitive pressures.

By coincidence, the final round of interviews for the four finalists was filmed at offices shared by Staffing Industry Analysts’ research team in New Broad Street, London.

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