Ethnic food innovator Perween Warsi, the founder and CEO of Derby-based S&A Foods, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of chilled ready meals, has appeared as a panellist on the popular BBC 2 programme The Apprentice: You’re Fired!
Perween, whose company produces 1.5 million ethnic ready meals a week for sale throughout the UK and internationally, appeared on the popular spin-off from the hit reality TV show, The Apprentice, on Wednesday, June 29.
“As an avid viewer of both programmes, it was good to critique the performance of the apprentices and of course to explain to Zoe Beresford, the apprentice who was fired, where I think she went wrong.
“The calibre of this year’s remaining apprentices is strong and the stakes are very high. However, the challenges the contestants have faced so far have exposed how vulnerable they are. In some cases they still have a lot to learn, both in and out of the boardroom.”
In the programme that Perween reviewed, along with Lord Sugar’s aide, Karren Brady, and comedian Bob Mortimer, apprentices were challenged with launching a new biscuit brand and pitching their product to supermarkets.
It is 25 years since Perween launched her first product, making samosas in her kitchen at home for sale at a local takeaway. Disappointed at the quality of Indian food in supermarkets at the time, Perween soon gained her first listing with Asda and is now one of the UK’s most well known and influential figures in ethnic food retailing, employing more than 600 people.
“I shared some of the challenges I have faced and highlighted the importance of innovation, passion and an over-riding commitment to quality in any business,” she said.
This year sees the contestants battling to win a £250,000 prize fund that will be invested into their own business. The winning contestant will choose what type of business they wish to set up and will have the backing and mentoring of Lord Sugar, with each taking a 50/50 stake in the company.
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