Let’s start with a disclaimer: if you thought that this interview would feature the former TOWIE star and husband of the actress Michelle Keegan then you might be somewhat disappointed. In fact this is the predicament that the multi corporate business owner and winner of The Apprentice encounters on an almost daily basis. In fact this frequent mistake has inadvertently brought the two men together in a bizarre commonality of mistaken identity which has been the source of a growing friendship. So to prepare for this interview I was forced to check and double check that I had in fact got the right Mark Wright… and luckily I had!
Press play, below, to listen to the full interview
Coming to the UK from his native Australia following six months of travelling in 2012, the fearless Mark arrived in London with nothing but a rucksack. Surviving through a series of low paid jobs and living in a number of hostels throughout the capital, Mark experienced the tough side of life but had the determination to see out his clear business plan. Technology and telecommunications were now moving at an unprecedented rate and Mark realised a gap in what was becoming a growing market. The internet had now become a vital resource for any emerging business, though there was still a significant barrier that prevented many from taking advantage of it.
Being determined to follow this dream, Mark was willing to do almost anything and having merely been in Britain for a matter of months, was ineligible for a bank loan. Just when he was contemplating a return to Australia, he was alerted to a BBC advert calling for applicants for the next series of The Apprentice. Having never seen the show nor had been aware of the existence of Amstrad or Lord Sugar, Mark merely saw this as an opportunity to gain much needed investment. For Mark, he never seeked fame and was unfamiliar with the disciplines of reality television. Instead he just had a definite ambition and with some assistance, he knew that he would make it a success.
Passing the audition process for The Apprentice gave Mark a mixture of emotions: he didn’t want to be famous nor did he know much about British television. Instead he saw the process as an elaborate means to an end and once he was familiar with the concept, he knew that this was the opportunity that he desperately needed. Out of the thousands of potential businessmen and women who applied, the producers saw something in Mark which they seemed to like. Without an ounce of arrogance, as soon as Mark entered the process, he knew that he stood a very good chance of winning. Recognising that there were a multitude of reasons for entering The Apprentice, Mark concluded that if he could escape the first week he would be in contention for winning the £250,000. Ultimately, Sugar has the thankless task to differentiate those who solely wanted fame from people with both a business mind and foresight.
Before entering the show, Mark did his homework and found tapes of the past series and watched the entire back catalogue of The Apprentice, not for entertainment purposes but research. Here he dissected the fatal mistakes which led to that infamous catchphrase and analysed each and every candidate in a bid to hone the abilities and traits which Lord Sugar looked for. This arguably gave him a unique advantage over his colleagues as he had the ability to remain analytical about the whole process and didn’t get bogged down by the glamour of being on a reality show. Instead Mark recognised the human element which Lord Sugar looked for: he hates people sitting on the peripheries, not having a voice. Likewise he likes people to know when and where to make their voice heard. He knows when people aren’t being themselves and can suss out the weak without even thinking. So if Mark could take this advice and put it into action, he knew that he would be a front runner.
Notoriously project managers on The Apprentice automatically place themselves in the firing line and are guaranteed to get a tongue lashing from Lord Sugar should disaster happen and they lose the task. Therefore the position of project manager is somewhat of a poisoned chalice and to become PM in the first week of the competition is certainly dicing with death. Yet this was exactly what Mark did when it was revealed that the task surrounded buying ten items relating to ten years of the show. Unlike other tasks, this flipped the competition on its head and instead of selling people a product, the candidates now became the customer. Mark thankfully claimed victory and caught the knowing eye of Lord Sugar which made him stand out in the succeeding weeks.
As a telecommunications expert, Lord Sugar remains excited about the future of online business and likes to keep on the forefront of technological fads and fashions. Therefore anything which promotes ease of recruitment in the digital world is definitely something which he thrives on. Mark was quick to realise this important aspect and was quick to appeal to the geeky side of the business tycoon. Irrespective of his success, financial status and political nouse, Lord Sugar remains a technology geek who is fascinated by the power of IT. Mark’s business model combined IT with recruitment which is two of the firm staples of the Amstrad brand. There were so many similarities between Mark’s journey compared to that of his newly discovered hero that it was proving too much of a good opportunity for Lord Sugar not to turn down. On Sunday 21st December 2014, an audience of 7.4 million sat down to watch Mark Wright crowned the winner of The Apprentice as he embarked upon his business partnership with Lord Sugar.
The twenty four year old tycoon built his first business in just two years and became the first person under thirty to enter the Forbes Rich List. This was a real achievement for the guy who arrived in the UK with just a rucksack on his back and despite this success, Mark is forever humbled by his own journey. The investment from Lord Sugar helped him to grow his Climb Online brand into the multimillion pound business it is today. Being one of the few Apprentice winners to maintain a partnership with the renowned business tycoon, Mark remains grateful for Sugar’s support and influence over what he hopes is the early stages of his entrepreneurial career. Knowing that he can be just a phone call away from one of the brightest business minds in the world is an empowering feeling and has given Mark the confidence to emerge from his comfort zone.
Just like Lord Sugar, Mark remains fascinated by remaining on the cutting edge of business and technology and has a passion in helping the next generation of entrepreneurs. His ultimate ambition is to emulate Lord Sugar and inherit the infamous boardroom of the BBC’s Apprentice and offer young business minds the wealth of his knowledge and experience in what remains a cutthroat world. Yet in the meantime Mark is excited about the post COVID world and the advancements in video conference programming has been one of the only positives to arise from the pandemic. He believes that the tools which the business world has learned during the past year has revolutionised telecommunications forever which can only be a good thing and is excited to discover the full extent of this opportunity. It was great to speak with the correct Mark Wright and looking forward to seeing what awaits him in his next venture.