10 News LIFE is ‘sugar sweet’ for a

talented Ceredigion entrepreneur who, after spending many weeks fighting off tough competition, celebrated being crowned the winner of BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’. 24-year old Alana Spencer, of

Llanrhystud, near Aberystwyth, won the hearts of the nation with her natural business intuition, which led to Lord Alan Sugar offering her a vital £250k investment. The self-taught chocolatier and

the youngest contestant of this year began the process with 17 other business professionals for the chance to win the investment and, after many challenging tasks and extravagant ideas each week, the final episode saw Alana and novelty gift company owner Courtney Wood competing in the board room. As always, the final episode

welcomed back only some of the original contestants to help Alana and Courtney pitch their business venture to Lord Sugar and 200 industry experts at London’s City Hall. But it was Alana who stole

the show with her poise and professionalism as she launched her plan to expand her first business - Narna’s - in order to include brownies and cakes. As a long-term fan of BBC’s

‘The Apprentice’, this year’s series was particularly enjoyable for me as the county of Ceredigion was able to cheer on Alana all the way to the very end.

Despite her admitting that the

process was not easy at the start, Alana stuck with her guns and made it all the way through. In recent years, Aberystwyth

has really raised the bar for other areas in Wales as it has produced an increasing amount of successful stars, including actor Taron Egerton and ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’ director

Rhian Boyt

Sharon Maguire. Now, Alana stands as the most

recent success in the county, showing everyone just how much you can achieve if you are willing to try. Of course, Alana went into the

process of ‘The Apprentice’ with many years of experience behind her as a businesswoman, with fresh ideas for her career. What came with launching her

own business was a chance to sell her products to delis across the country. She also has a busy events calendar which sees her travelling around the country to bring her yummy goodies to a large number of food festivals and country shows. I remember coming across one

of Alana’s delicious products last summer when I attended the annual ‘Sea 2 Shore’ food festival along Aberystwyth seafront. Among the rows of stalls, it was her first business, ‘Narna’s’, that stood out for me. With an attractive display

of rocky roads, gooey chocolate brownies and peanut butter fudge cakes, it was a very easy decision to give in and taste what can only be described as an absolute delight. What started out as selling her

handmade chocolates to her teachers, family and friends, Alana’s creations have received an extraordinary amount of recognition, as well as fantastic reviews. Following her success on ‘The

Apprentice’, The Herald was able to interview Alana and she began by telling us a bit about herself and her career to date: “I started my business when I was in school and I was always passionate about having my own business. It initially started as a chocolate company and I taught myself how to make chocolates when


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The Herald Interview with Alana Spencer

I was 16. “My mum bought me a book on

how to make chocolates and, at the same time, I had work experience in The Conrah Hotel and the owner let me crack on and make loads of chocolates - so it was my idea of heaven. It was from there that the business grew.” On what she loved about her

business, Alana explained to The Herald: “I’ve always loved trying to achieve something, I suppose. I was never passionate about academia and to be able to see something grow is what drives me.” Alana then described how,

growing up in the area of Aberystwyth, she came across different ways for her business to stand out from other businesses in the area: “I had work experience in The Conrah Hotel and when I met

the owner, he was so great and let me create a lot of desserts during that week when I was at school. “I then had a job at Ultracomida

in Aberystwyth at the weekends and I was also doing the Farmers’ Market, which meant my hours were getting shorter and shorter.” Alana added: “When I told the

people at Ultracomida that I wasn’t going to be able to work there any more, they wanted to buy some of my cakes from me and they have done ever since.” With Alana previously applying

for ‘The Junior Apprentice’ back in 2010, she told The Herald about how she felt this year was the perfect year to apply for BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’: “The chance to apply just popped up and I thought I might just do that again. I had a chat with my boyfriend about it at the time and he was so sure that if I was to apply that I could potentially do really well. “We started chatting about what

we would do if I would win and how it would work. So, it was from the minute that I saw the application I was so certain it would go somewhere.” When thinking about her

memories during ‘The Apprentice’ process, Alana discussed a poignant one for her: “I remember when I had just done my talk at City Hall and we weren’t allowed to listen to music as the process was really strict and there was a lock-down on social media outlets to keep you focussed. “On the way home, they put on

a song on for us - I think a Jessie J song - which was about an amazing experience and we just all sang it at the top of our lungs. It was just the best moment ever!” On those memorable words said

by Lord Sugar, ‘you’re hired’, Alana explained how she felt when they were said to her: “It was bizarre! The whole time, I was just adamant

at that point he was going to choose Courtney because Courtney’s vision is so in with what he knows, so I was incredibly shocked when Lord Sugar chose me. It was amazing. “It’s just bizarre to go from nearly

being fired to being hired, it’s just life changing.” Alana then added how she felt

about representing Ceredigion while on the show: “I feel massively proud about having represented Ceredigion. Aberystwyth is a small town and I’ve been stopped because of it and one lady in Tesco gave me a hug and congratulated me, which was lovely!” We asked Alana: “As a young

and fresh entrepreneur of Ceredigion and having been through the process of appearing on ‘The Apprentice’, what sort of advice would you give those who are living in Aberystwyth or elsewhere who are eager to start a business?” She responded by telling us:

“I would say that if you have an idea, then you need the drive and determination I think.” Alana concluded the interview by

saying: “As long as you know what you are trying to achieve and you set out clear goals along the way, you should succeed.”

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