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Irish teen wants to be new Apprentice

HE'S NOT even out of school but Ireland's youngest business hope wants to become Alan Sugar's junior Apprentice.

Sixteen-year-old budding business boy Jordan de Courcy will battle it out with nine other hopefuls to land the underage crown of Sugar's BBC smash hit, and a top prize of €30k.

Despite his young age, Jordan has been capitalising on his entrepreneurial side for the past four years by starting his own juice bar in Dublin at age 12, and is now working on a natural skincare range.

But his successful professional life still hasn't distracted him from school as the Wicklow man is studying for his Leaving Certificate.

"I see myself as a successful businessman with many different business principles," he said.

And unlike most 16-year-old boys who would mark playing sports and video games as their favourite pastimes, Jordan has listed graphic design and website promotion as just two of his hobbies.

The first junior series of the show will see 16 and 17-year-olds battling it out for a shot at the title as they undergo a series of tasks, similar to that of the original Apprentice format.

Although they were all chosen because of their potential to be some of business's toughest new prospects, they showed their vulnerability when three were reduced to tears during their first challenge yesterday.

But when it comes down to firing the first candidate, Sugar carefully explains to all three candidates in the boardroom that they have "tremendous potential" and acknowledges "it's a difficult thing to be the first person to go".

Sugar said that he altered his manner slightly in order to be more sensitive to the teens.

"I obviously had to consciously recognise that I was dealing with much younger people," he said. "And so obviously I spoke to them in a much different manner than you would do to more mature candidates..."

The prestigious 10 finalists were chosen from 28,000 applicants and consist of an online entrepreneur, maths expert, fashion-minded saleswoman and an award winning public speaking champion.