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Stephen Higgins

Beneath his Twitter handle, Stephen Higgins has put: 'The greatest person who has ever lived.' A tongue-in-cheek pronouncement, surely, but aptly reflecting The Apprentice runner-up's undentable confidence.

The most famous thing to come out of Tuam, Co Galway, since The Saw Doctors, Higgins went to local boys' school St Jarlath's, where he excelled at sports. He left at 16 to try at a professional soccer career in the US and Korea, but later returned to Ireland and attained a degree in business and law at the University of Limerick.

After college he worked in banking in Dublin and briefly for a recruitment agency, then set up The Wedding Trainer, a company specialising in getting brides-to-be in shape for their big day. Then came the chance to star in The Apprentice 2009.

Higgins shone as a rather steely but effective competitor, making it down to the last two of 14 Apprentice wannabes but it was "English Steve" Rayner who bagged the €100,000 job with Bill Cullen.

After the finger-pointing "you're fired" denouement, Higgins shed a few tears, showing a softer side that saw viewers warm to him a bit more.

Clearly, Ladbrokes has warmed to him; the bookies recently hired the 27-year-old as a marketing consultant to roll out its online affiliate business in Ireland over the next six months.

"Life has been great," post-Apprentice, he says.

Sunday Indo Business