The Apprentice winner addresses cutting ties with Lord Sugar

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Joseph Valente secured a £250,000 investment from Lord Alan Sugar on series 11 of The Apprentice for his company ImpraGas. However, Joseph bought back Lord Sugar’s 50 per cent share in the company two years after winning the BBC One programme. The businessman has spoken exclusively to about where he stands with Lord Sugar now. 

The 33-year-old entrepreneur exclusively told “I got a billionaire business partner and it opened up so many doors I wouldn’t have been able to walk through.”

However, he went on to admit: “I kept in brief contact with [Lord Sugar] over the last few years but we are not friends, it’s not like we are best mates.”

Joseph said he regrets “breaking up the partnership” with Lord Sugar “so early on” as he wished he worked with the business mogul for longer.

Reflecting on the situation, he shared: “I was a young guy, and I wanted to take the business in a different direction than what he wanted so I stopped the partnership early.

“Looking back he would have been a great ally to have for the long term, not just the short term. 

“I was very shortsighted at the time, I was thinking about the business which I was in rather than the long-term opportunities.”

When asked if there was a chance of reconnecting with Lord Sugar, Joseph admitted: “Probably, not.” 

Joseph, who was expelled from school at the age of 15, now runs Trade Mastermind and Coaching Academy where he helps individuals and sole traders in the construction sector learn how to grow their businesses. 

“It was a nervous time to start a business, being at the beginning of a pandemic as I was unsure of what was going to happen,” he shared. 

“But it turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to my business. 

“For some businesses, the pandemic was a disaster, others saw it as an opportunity to thrive. 

“We were an events business which changed to an online training business and we were getting hundreds and hundreds of people a week coming onto our free webinars.”

Joseph claimed he was making £100,000 a month in sales after just three months in business. 

He added: “We have 30 staff and 2,500 construction clients, so it’s absolutely blown up. 

“I was the first person to introduce personal training to construction and development in the UK, it’s not been done before.”

The businessman later admitted he has not really watched The Apprentice since winning his series when he was 25 years old. 

Looking back on the process, Joseph said: “The problem you have when you come out in week one or two is no one will remember who you were.

“You need to go the distance in the process to get enough airtime and to keep in people’s minds.”

He added: “[The Apprentice] was the ultimate environment to see what was possible and to see a roadmap of how I could get there.”

The Apprentice series 17 continues on Thursdays on BBC One at 9pm. 

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