Busi­ness­woman Khadija ‘proud’ of per­for­mance as she makes fi­nal five of The Ap­pren­tice

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - NEWS -

Peter­bor­ough busi­ness­woman Khadija Kal­ifa is clos­ing in on a place in the fi­nal of The Ap­pren­tice after mak­ing it into the penul­ti­mate episode of the show. The boss of eco-friendly clean­ing busi­ness Opal and Pearl se­cured her place in the fi­nal five of the BBC re­al­ity show last night in the last task be­fore the dreaded in­ter­view stage.

The mum of two who grew up in Hamp­ton and at­tended Bush­field Com­mu­nity Col­lege has seen off 11 other can­di­dates so far and nar­rowly es­caped the dreaded ‘You’re Fired’ from Lord Sugar as she seeks to be­come his next busi­ness part­ner.

Khadija has been crit­i­cised dur­ing the show for be­ing too ag­gres­sive at times, but she re­mains on course to fol­low in the foot­steps of fel­low Peter­bor­ough en­tre­pre­neur Joseph Va­lente who was hired by Lord Sugar three years ago. Speak­ing be­fore last night’s episode was aired, Khadija said: “I’m pretty proud of my­self. I’m glad I stayed in this long for peo­ple to re­ally see the true Khadija and not the Khadija they saw in week two.

“Last week was quite dif­fi­cult for me to watch as I knew the board­room was quite emo­tional. No­body wants to watch them­selves cry and 8.9 mil­lion peo­ple watch­ing me cry.

“I’ve learnt so much about busi­ness. One thing I wish I had done a long time ago is pay for a men­tor or coach - I have made some mis­takes in the last four years as I had no­body to guide me. “Be­ing in a process like The Ap­pren­tice, and hav­ing gained knowl­edge from Lord Sugar, Kar­ren (Brady) and Claude (Lit­tner), now I have more con­fi­dence.” Last week’s task saw Khadija selling items live on a shop­ping chan­nel, but in the end she was glad to es­cape a fir­ing in the board­room after be­ing left in the bot­tom three.

She said: “It’s so dif­fi­cult when you have some­one talk­ing in your ear and you don’t know much about the prod­uct you’re selling. “I did not re­ally know what the in­flat­able pink chair was for but I had so much fun. I thought I had done so much bet­ter than what was shown on TV!”

The con­fi­dence of mak­ing it so far in The Ap­pren­tice has helped Khadija ex­pand her busi­ness, which has in­cluded mov­ing out of the Al­lia Fu­ture Busi­ness Cen­tre at the Peter­bor­ough United sta­dium in Lon­don Road to next to Royal Mail in Or­ton South­gate. She is also hop­ing to next week launch a new prod­uct, with cus­tomers able to or­der a 200ml ‘home mist’ which smells of rhubarb, as well as a hand­wash, both of which when de­liv­ered will fit through the let­ter­box. Khadija is also look­ing to fo­cus more on com­mer­cial in­stead of house clean­ing and she has even be­gun coach­ing as well.

“I’m look­ing at the busi­ness with fresh eyes - it’s ex­cit­ing,” she said.

As for gain­ing celebrity sta­tus in her home city, Khadija added: “I’m re­ally en­joy­ing it. The ex­pe­ri­ence has been great and it was re­ally nice I was asked to turn on the Christ­mas lights in Peter­bor­ough and at Or­ton­gate Shop­ping Cen­tre.

“Peo­ple have also been ask­ing me for self­ies - it’s been sur­real!” Last night’s task saw the can­di­dates tasked with pro­duc­ing a brand new choco­late range for them to cash in on over the Christ­mas pe­riod.

Hav­ing sur­vived that Khadija will be in the fir­ing line next Wed­nes­day when her busi­ness plan and CV are pored over dur­ing the gru­elling in­ter­view stage. Should she make the fi­nal two, the episode will air a week on Sun­day at 9pm on BBC1. View­ers can also en­joy an in­depth look on Khadija and all of the fi­nal five can­di­dates on BBC1 on Tues­day at 10.45pm.

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