He was a semi-finalist in one of the most gruelling business competitions in the country. He drew sailboats for his business plan and nearly walked out of a window during his interview. Solomon aka Solly sat on our Zee Companion sofa on Good Friday and talked us through his The Apprentice experience and gave start-up advice from his own business experiences.

The first thing I wanted to know was what those sailboats actually meant! After joking about it being a sailboat company, Solly explained it was supposed to represent a logistics company that sends out mail so you don’t have to (like Royal Mail but probably a bit more technical after all he is a tech entrepreneur).

In fact, while sitting on the sofa with nothing but a Zee Companion mug and potpourri in front of him, I lost count of the amount of new business ideas and analogies he developed during our hour interview! It is clear that business is ingrained in him and how he made it to the semi-finals with a glowing CV commended by Claude Littner.

Being the youngest on the show, Solly described the experience as really hard as you are in a competition environment but he never brought up his age. He described Lord Sugar as a ‘cool dude’ and as being ‘in awe’ of Karren Brady CBE.

Not everyone will be under the scrutiny of Lord Sugar though. So, I asked Solly what should people do in their interviews? His advice:

  • Be yourself – don’t conform to what you think they’re looking for but be yourself and be confident with who you are.
  • Have something up your sleeve – go in with something different so if you have any hobbies, use those to show why you stand out.

With all that great advice, I wanted to know about the man behind our screens. Well his cheeky chappy personality was apparent as we chatted about his younger days when he sold sweets on his school bus and earned £20 a week!

After attending an all-boys Grammar school and studying hard, he then went to Exeter where he studied Geography and took the subject practically by yachting around Croatia for a week hosting a student party – another one of his business ideas!

Solly now has his own business called InstaBear which specialises in social media advice and software. His advice to anyone who wants to create a start-up:

  • Have an idea
  • Promote the idea – use family and friends to help with promotion such as handing out leaflets etc
  • Use social media to get the idea out there
  • Get a business partner
  • Start from scratch – working on every bit of the business is the dream

I asked Solly if he would change anything about his experience on The Apprentice. Apart from winning, he stated, he wouldn’t change anything. He’s having fun right now and currently has a show on ITV and has an upcoming show on BBC. And of course he was on our Zee Companion sofa – we hope he loved it as much as we did!