The owner of a pie company is among the hopefuls vying for an investment from Lord Sugar in the latest season of The Apprentice.

Phil Turner from Bognor, owner of family-owned pie business Turner’s Pies, is one of the 18 candidates battling for the businessman’s £250,000 investment and mentorship.

The “seven-figure profitable” company has five shops across West Sussex and Hampshire and also offers a pie delivery service.

Mr Turner appeared on the BBC documentary Life of Pies in 2018 and was proclaimed “supreme pie champion” in 2020.

He now hopes to take his business to the next level and start making Lord Sugar "some real dough".

Mr Turner said: “I deserve Lord Sugar’s investment because I already have a track record of successfully building and scaling a business.

“You don’t grow a multi-million-pound business by being a pushover.

“I have learnt how to run a business the hard way and now I feel like it’s time to take my business to the next level.”

He also said building up his business since buying his parents’ bakery at the age of 21 has involved a “succession of failures”.

Mr Turner said: “Almost everything I’ve done for the first time failed in one way or another. I live by the motto ‘we win or we learn’.

“There’s no failure that I’ve encountered in business or life that hasn’t been necessary for growth.

“Failure is necessary for success.”

The Argus: 18 candidates are vying for Lord Sugar's investment on The Apprentice18 candidates are vying for Lord Sugar's investment on The Apprentice (Image: BBC/Noked)

He will face off against several other business hopefuls, including boutique fitness studio owner Rachel Woolford, music and wellness entrepreneur Tre Lowe and the director of another pie company, Paul Bowen.

Lord Sugar will return with his trusted advisers Karren Brady and Tim Campbell for the 18th series of the BBC show.

“I’m very pleased with this series because the quality of the candidates that we have attracted this year is superb,” Lord Sugar said.

“I’m looking for character, I’m looking for brain power and - this is the most important thing - do they get it?”

Candidates will complete a series of tasks, involving electric cars, vegan cheese and virtual escape rooms.

The Apprentice returns to screens on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Thursday, February 1.