Right from the first episode of the 2022 edition of ‘The Apprentice’ on BBC, the budding entrepreneur who grabbed the limelight with her fierce confidence and bold candour was Harpreet Kaur. Persistent negotiations, pitching like a pro, leading from the front, calling the shots and, above everything, not accepting anything but perfection from her team – Harpreet stole the show and how!
But the competition was deadly, and Lord Sugar's boardroom scary. It wasn't easy to predict that this British Indian businesswoman from the market town of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire would be the final one to walk out with the coveted £250,000 investment for her dessert parlour concept.
For this exclusive interview, we meet the warm, driven and hard-working woman behind the feisty contender of one of the world’s most challenging boardroom reality shows.
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As she made her mark from the start and became a favourite of many among the Indian diaspora, Harpreet garnered a fanbase far and wide. So much so that the newly-launched website for her winning dessert business – Oh So Yum! – crashed with the sheer traffic that descended upon it after Lord Sugar announced his investment choice.
Ever since, Harpreet has been basking in all that love and adoration, while coping with the high demand for the delivery of her winning desserts UK-wide.
She told iGlobal: "I'm so blessed and grateful that everybody wants to support my business. I couldn't handle it, and it crashed for about 15-20 minutes. But now it's up and running, and everybody can go online and order their desserts."
While on TV, Harpreet’s signature style was a no-nonsense attitude as an outspoken professional who always spoke her mind.
Asked if she regrets anything on looking back at the entire 'Apprentice' experience, she replies in her characteristic candid style: "I'm the type of person that always says no regrets. We all look back, and nobody's perfect. I'm definitely not perfect.
“But I think if I did anything differently, I wouldn't be sitting here speaking to you today. I might not be the winner of ‘The Apprentice’."
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Harpreet lives with her parents, a sister and a brother in West Yorkshire, where her parents have their own retail business.
"My dad was born in India, in Punjab, in a little village near Phagwara. My mum was born here but to Indian parents," shares Harpreet.
Outside the high-pressure scenario of ‘The Apprentice’, the thing that stands out about Harpreet is her sweet and friendly personality.
Talking about her siblings, she notes: "The three of us are all very similar age. So, I'm 30, my sister is 33 and my brother is one year younger than me. He's getting married in a few weeks. We're very close."
Like any Indian household, it is clear that the familial bonds and sibling love run deep. Talking about her bond with her sister, Gurvinder Kaur, who's also her business partner and best friend, Harpreet said: "Honestly, I can't think of anyone more who deserves this success as much as I do. We have worked so hard together.
“But the really nice thing about it is we don't have any friction between us. We never had in the past two years."
On a light-hearted note, she admits being the “bad cop”, with sister Gurvinder the “good cop” of their family venture.
And, what’s next for this young entrepreneur with big dreams, beyond all the headlines and bursts of social media traffic?
“I think the first step is definitely looking at the UK, to begin with, and opening up more stores here. But who knows, one day, I would love to be the number one dessert brand, not only in the UK but in the world.
“And hopefully, we can be in India one day as well. I know other brands out there have done similar things in the food industry. So, there's no reason I can't!"
*Info: Oh So Yum!