Alana Spencer and Courtney Wood to battle it out in Apprentice final

Apprentice finalist Alana Spencer has said she “never lost the dream” of reaching the show’s finale as she competes with rival candidate Courtney Wood for Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.

The two contestants will pitch their business plans to more than 200 industry experts including Lord Sugar during Sunday night’s final.

Cake company owner Alana, 24, and Courtney, 29, who runs his own novelty gift business, have endured 12 weeks of intense challenges in a bid to team up with the business magnate.

Alana, who founded her company seven years ago, told the Press Association her rocky start in the competition had initially given her doubts over her chances of reaching the final.

“I went in thinking I had a really strong chance.

“Obviously my confidence got knocked at the beginning and after those first few weeks I didn’t think there was a chance, but by the final five I thought there was a chance I could win it again.”

She revealed she had unsuccessfully applied for the Junior Apprentice show when she was 17 but “never lost the dream” of reaching the final boardroom.

Courtney said he “wouldn’t have applied” if he did not think he could win, adding he was inspired by last year’s winner, Joseph Valente.

He told the Press Association: “I was looking for an investor last year. I happened to watch the final, I saw Joe win and I thought I could do it.”

Courtney added that Lord Sugar was the “ideal investor and mentor” for his business.

The pair beat off competition from Frances Bishop, Grainne McCoy and Jessica Cunningham in Thursday’s semi-final after 13 candidates had already been fired or quit.

Sunday night’s show will see Alana and Courtney joined by a number of their former Apprentice colleagues as they are tasked with creating a brand for their business and unveiling an advertising campaign.

Alana said despite their rivalry, each of them would “genuinely be chuffed for the other person” if they fail to win.

The Apprentice final airs at 9pm on BBC One on Sunday December 18.

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