She had her eyes on the prize for nine weeks but South Ribble Apprentice candidate Jenna Whittingham was finally beaten in the boardroom last night.
The Penwortham beauty salon owner made her exit from the BBC1 show after her efforts at directing an advert to sell sparkling wine fell flat with Lord Sugar.
The entrepreneur branded Team Sterling’s video “disastrous” because he thought its wedding theme was not classy enough. But in the boardroom, Lord Sugar told Jenna she was a hard worker and he was firing her “with regret”.
Jenna, 25, said she was disappointed to have left the programme just three weeks from the end but that she had enjoyed every minute of competing for the £250,000 prize.
She said: “I was so close yet so far.I did think in the boardroom, I had a good pitch and Nick (Hewer) was supporting me but maybe I should have fought my corner a bit more.
“So near the final, they can’t allow any mistakes.”
Jenna, who runs Beauty and the Boutique on Liverpool Road in Penwortham, said weeks six and seven were her favourite tasks of the series.
She managed Sterling to victory, selling street food to hungry tourists in Edinburgh in week six and then sold hundreds of bottles of fake tan to shoppers to help secure another big win for her team the following week.
After her exit, Jenna, who lives in Lathom, near Ormskirk, confessed she didn’t watch the show before appearing on it. She said: “To be honest with you - this sounds really awful - but I haven’t really watched every single series.
“It was a case of last year when they announced it was going to be the investment that I watched a few clips and put my application in because I genuinely wanted to get an investment.”
Jenna has just opened a new salon in Wrightington, near Wigan.
She said: “My only regret from The Apprentice was being fired!”