Cake, cash and starting a business aged eight

Sweet as sugar: Alana Spencer won The Apprentice in 2016 when she was just 24 years old.

Are you ever too young to start your own business? The Day Explorer interviews Alana Spencer, a former winner of The Apprentice. She dreamed of running her own company from a very young age.

What’s happening

Next week is Global Entrepreneurship Week. We talked to The Apprentice winner Alana Spencer about starting a company.

“When I was in primary school I was absolutely adamant that I was going to start a car washing business,” she says, “but my mum wouldn’t let me do it.”

Find out more

Alana had more luck as a teenager. She traded at car boot sales and sold homemade cards before setting up a chocolate business at 17. She says she did it for the “feeling of excitement” she got when she sold something.

She later switched to cakes and won The Apprentice in 2016.

“It was really tough,” she says. “You make silly mistakes, because everyone’s tired.” Her cake company is now called Ridiculously Rich. Lord Alan Sugar invested £250,000.

Her advice? “Don’t lose focus. The good times make it all worthwhile.” Are you ever too young to start a business?

Some say…

No: No! If you have something to sell and people who want to buy it, then nothing can stop you. Alan Sugar started out selling “bits and pieces” in school. Elon Musk made and sold his first video game at 12. That entrepreneurial spirit stayed with them for life.

Others think…

Yes: Childhood should be about learning and having fun, not making money. It could even be dangerous. As Alana’s mother warned her, “it was a bit weird going and knocking on strangers’ doors” when she was only eight. There will be time for business later.

You Decide

  1. Would you like to run your own company one day?


  1. Imagine you have been asked to set up a food-based company. What sort of business would you set up? What products would you make? How much would you sell them for? Create a poster advertising your imaginary food.

Some People Say...

“Know your product and your industry. You can only get so far on the blag.”

Alana Spencer

What do you think?

Word Watch

Setting up a company.
The Apprentice
A BBC reality TV show in which business people compete. If they win, billionaire Lord Alan Sugar will invest £250,000 in their company. He gets half of the profits.
Sure, certain.
Put money into a company to help it grow.
A description for someone who makes money by setting up businesses, spotting good opportunities and taking risks.
Slang for persuading someone using your personality.


PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.