I have watched every season of The Apprentice since its early days before it became essential prime time viewing.
As a headhunter I was intrigued by the tasks set and the long selection process of individuals who were essentially at the start of their careers. The current format where Lord Sugar is now in essence looking for a business partner and not an employee essentially changes the dynamics, and in theory the qualities looked for.
Having seen the first 3 episodes of the current series and the lack of business acumen exhibited by some of this year’s applicants, I can’t help wondering if the age restrictions should be put aside to allow would be entrepreneurs of all ages to compete for the chance to be Lord Sugar’s business partner. With 71% of women over 50 surveyed in a recent poll indicating that they were considering setting up in business, and research by organisations such as PRIME showing that businesses set up by the over 50s demonstrated a higher ratio of success than businesses set up by younger generations, I can only wonder why Lord Sugar would not wish to tap into this tremendous source of potential business partners.
No place for ageism if we want to grow the economy
Can we afford to let ageism play a part in the building of successful businesses and boosting the economy? Surely we should be drawing upon all available talent irrespective of age.
As longevity increases so do our working lives. Someone setting up a business over the age of 50 has ample opportunity to build a thriving concern. They can offer maturity, wisdom and experience gained from decades in the workplace.
Surely more mature candidates equally deserve a place in Lord Sugar’s boardroom evaluations.
It would make interesting viewing, and throughout the numerous tasks and challenges the candidates from different generations could learn from each other.
If anyone needs convincing of the merits of mature entrepreneurs just take a look at some of the businesswomen featured in our ‘Fabwomen’ section, such as Nina who turned her love of animals into a thriving pet sitting business, or Marianne whose skincare concoctions initially created at her kitchen table are now being distributed internationally.
So please Lord Sugar, for the next series of The Apprentice, please open the age group to include entrepreneurs of all ages!