I’m aiming higher and higher

KRISTINA Grimes was runner-up in TV’s The Apprentice. She visited Teesside recently to be guest speaker at the Middlesbrough Business Forum.

FROM the minute Kristina Grimes hit our screens during BBC series The Apprentice, there was no doubting she was a force to be reckoned with.

In the end she lost out on the top job as Sir Alan Sugar’s apprentice - and a £100,000 pay packet - as 27-year-old Simon Ambrose was told “You’re hired!”

But the 36-year-old says coming second was the best break she could have asked for.

After the show ended she received 140 job offers and is now investment sales director with property development company Dandara Group.

Sharing her secrets of success with companies across the Tees Valley at Middlesbrough Business Forum, she said attitude was vital as was the ability to take risks and capitalise on opportunity.

“It’s vital any company has clarity about what its business is about,” said Kristina, who has 18 years’ experience in business.

“Make sure you’ve got a goal and make the most of any opportunity.

“It’s also so important to close on a deal - so many companies put in the work and then fail to do that right at the end.”

She added: “People need to be imaginative. If they’ve got good ideas for a new product or service, then capitalise on that with help from business advisors. Do your research and if setting up your own company is the best option, then go for it.

“But not everyone can come up with the next big thing. But that doesn’t mean they’re not entrepreneurial.

“Entrepreneurial spirit can flourish as part of a company or within any industry.”

Capitalising on opportunity is also a key to business.

And Kristina said with its rapid regeneration and development, Tees Valley is an area with opportunity in abundance.

“The opportunities in the region are great,” she said.

“During my career in the pharmaceutical industry I spent time in this area and worked with James Cook University Hospital.

“The place had changed so much in just the last few years. - just look at Middlesbrough’s new gallery, mima.

“My son is studying business in Stockton at Durham University’s Queen’s Campus - which is an excellent facility.

“Why would people want to be based in the saturated London area? You have a much better chance of making it in Middlesbrough where there are talented people and an excellent standard of living.”

But one key factor that remains at the heart of Kristina’s success is hard work.

“Nothing has ever been handed to me on a plate,” she said. “I’ve had to work hard for everything.

“But I’ve also had to take risks.

“All too often, people and businesses are risk adverse - and carry on doing something because ‘it’s always been done like that’.

“Take The Apprentice - I could have fallen flat on my face with that programme. For anyone who thinks it’s a quick or easy way to get a great job, it’s not.

“But by taking the risk and trying something new I’m now reaping the rewards.”

She added: “I aim higher and higher, there will be never a limit to what I want to achieve.

“For every success the drive and enthusiasm just gets greater; the motivation to keep pushing the boundaries of success just grows and grows.”

See page two for Kristina's fact file.

Fact File

Kristina Grimes is 36.

She was fired from The Apprentice in the final week, losing out to winner Simon Ambrose.

Before joining the show she was a pharmaceuticals sales manager.

She has a BSc Hons in mathematics.

Her home town is Harrogate.

She is a single mother to 19-year-old Graeme, who is studying business at Durham University’s Queen’s Campus in Stockton.

She is currently investment sales director with property development company Dandara Group.

On leaving The Apprentice she received 140 job offers - the highest number achieved by anyone who has taken part in the show so far.

She said Sir Alan Sugar is “just like he is on the show” but she admires the fact he “says it as it is”.

She said she chose to apply for The Apprentice for one reason and one reason only: It was “Kristina Time”. But she admits she’s relieved it’s all over and would not recommend the experience to others.

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