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Chloe's The Apprentice Blog - Baby Boom (S16 E10)

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This week the teams have to design a healthy baby food, come up with a brand and packaging, then sell it to retailers.

The PMs

As the only one with kids (how does he have a 15 year old!?) the girls are keen to put Aaron in place as PM of Diverse. They focus on the health aspect and decide to make a veggie friendly product. Aaron gives Kathryn and Brittany complete freedom to do whatever they want with branding and design.

Harpreet takes over Infinity and gives her team zero choices – she decides she will make a fish curry and is very clear with Akeem and Steph on her ideas for branding – blue, royal blue, not baby blue (because why would you want baby blue, for baby food..?)

The products

Harpreet makes a complex fish, spice infused, colourful dish. Steph and Akeem try to keep up while she reels off all the ingredients. Meanwhile Aaron keeps it simple – no meat and two veg. The girls on his team are confused as to why their veggie baby food has so few veggies, but it’s all they’ve got to work with.

Steph and Akeem brainstorm brand names – Steph has some great ideas, but Akeem has never heard the word bubba before. They end up with a catchy name – First Time Foodies. It’s a shame they spoil it by designing packaging that looks like it says “First Time Dies”.

Meanwhile, Brittany and Kathryn come up with a decent brand: Little Taste Adventure, but make a complete dog’s dinner of the packaging and logo.

Consumer feedback

The babies hate the Moroccan stodge Aaron came up with but love Hapreet’s fish curry – the parents aren’t keen on the “First Time Dies” label but what do the babies care, they can’t read it.

The pitches

The retailers hate team Diverse’s product: the taste, texture, brand, logo, packaging – it has no redeeming features.

They love the taste of Infinity’s baby food, but they point out the “First Time Dies” faux pas and Steph looks dumbstruck. None of them saw it.

In between pitches, Harpreet sums up it well “from this label, it looks like we want to kill children”.

The boardroom

They all get a hard time from Lord Sugar and neither team manages to secure any orders from the retailers. They’re all losers!

Steph and Kathryn throw Aaron under the bus and I’m genuinely gutted to see him fired – he was definitely the least annoying candidate ever.

Aaron doesn’t leave alone though, as Lord Sugar makes it a double elimination and also gets rid of wet blanket Akeem, at last.

We’re left with an all-female final, and next week the ladies will be scrutinised on their business plans.

Whatever happens, Lord Sugar’s next business partner will be a woman, so it’s a win for equal opportunities already. Statistics show that the proportion of women in senior positions is slowly increasing, but there remains a big equality gap. Research by advisory firm Grant Thornton demonstrates that 26% of CEOs are female, 36% of CFOs are female, and female COOs are at 22%. Overall, 34% of mid-market senior leadership roles are held by women. Grant Thornton point out that there have been increases since the onset of the pandemic, and that the rise of flexible, home and hybrid working have contributed significantly to enabling women to juggle home and work priorities more easily, maximising their opportunities for growth and development in the workplace.

Employers keen to ensure they have the best talent in the right positions would benefit from recognising that often women are disadvantaged due to childcare responsibilities, or having time out from the workplace on maternity leave. Ensuring there is support for women via flexible working, enhanced maternity schemes, support towards childcare and initiatives to integrate and facilitate successful return to work following maternity leave will go a long way to help further close that gap.