Colne man appears on ‘The Apprentice’

Apprentice star Azhar Majid Siddique
Apprentice star Azhar Majid Siddique

A COLNE man is hoping to hear the words “You’re Hired” uttered from Lord Sugar as he goes head-to-head with other wannabe apprentices.

Azhar Majid Siddique (33), who grew up in West Street, was this week unveiled as one of the 16 contestants on the BBC hit show The Apprentice, and has high hopes of going into business with the multi-millionaire tycoon.

Self-confessed “thrill seeker” Azhar, who is the founder and managing director of a catering and refrigeration company, now lives in Manchester, but regularly returns home to visit his parents who still live in the street he grew up.

He founded the business around 10 years ago after spotting that there was a niche in the market for hiring catering equipment.

And his brother Khuram (27), who is a toxicologist near Milton Keynes, says he is sure his brother is going to triumph.

Khuram said: “I honestly think he’s going to win. He’s very clued up when it comes to business and that’s all he talks about.

“He is inspired by Lord Sugar and wants to be like him.”

And the former West Street Primary and Park High School pupil Azhar says that he is frightened of nothing – and it is just as well, as he owns two pet sharks and enjoys diving with sharks.

But we will have to stay tuned to see if he has bitten off more than he can chew when he comes up against Lord Sugar’s razor tongue and ferocious bite over the next 12 weeks.

His eldest brother Asif has his own telecoms business, his younger brother Asim is an architect, and two sisters Azami and Nazima are both qualified solicitors.

Khuram said: “Azhar is a real people person and is very confident.

“He’s a workaholic and never sleeps, he’s very motivated. Everyone is really proud of him, especially our dad Abdul.”

Azhar, who attended Nelson and Colne College before studying for a degree in business at Manchester Metropolitan University, was nominated as one of the UK’s top young entrepreneurs.

He was also the HSBC Business Award winner, MEN Business of the Year finalist and was listed in the Top 100 Companies, and has a staggering 41,000 followers on Twitter.

Since the age of nine, he has had a passion for business and started making pocket money by cleaning market stalls.

He said that in order to make it through to The Apprentice, he was put through a series of interviews which although he said were testing were worth it.

Speaking before filming, he said that he felt his biggest strengths were his professionalism and integrity but admitted that he gets restless quickly.

He said: “It’s not who shouts the loudest, it’s who has the ability to control the conversation.”

Last year, local man and Daisy Group Plc CEO Matthew Riley was drafted in by Lord Sugar as his aide to help choose the series’ overall winner.

And in an interview with this newspaper last year Mr Riley said he hoped to see more Northerners on the show.

The Apprentice can be seen on BBC1 each Wednesday at 9 p.m.