Alan Sugar

By: Melanie Smith

Love or hate him you have to admire the achievements of Alan Sugar.  Born in 1947, his passion and enthusiasm has enabled him to rise above his humble beginnings in London’s East End to become one of the UK’s most successful businessmen, with an estimated net worth of £800 million. 

Always able to detect an opportunity, Sugar started out in business at the age of 12, making ginger beer and selling it to neighbours.  At the age of 21, Sugar set up his own company Amstrad and what started out as a small enterprise soon became an international consumer electronics, telecommunications and computer group.  It now has wholly owned subsidiaries across Europe and a world wide presence through a network of distributors. 

Sugar’s experience and expertise is now highly valued and he is one of the UK government’s team of figureheads travelling around schools and universities encouraging entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people. 

His success is definitely not based on popularity in fact Sugar readily describes his personal style as up-front, sometimes belligerent with high expectations of everyone.  Viewers of the UK’s BBC’s series ‘The Apprentice’ (see link below) have witnessed his direct honest style as he ruthlessly exposes the weaknesses of the final 14 (out of 10,000 individuals) fighting for a place at his side. 

A strong believer in the power of ownership, Sugar understands the importance of inclusion and good communication.  Leading from the front, he expects self discipline, relentless effort and ‘hard graft’ from all those on his team.  Those who live up to his expectations are rewarded with both his respect and his loyalty.