20 June 2024

WATCH: Local design business features on Lord Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice

A Salisbury-based business has featured on the most recent series of The Apprentice, aiding budding entrepreneurs to complete a product design challenge.

Founder of Innovate Design, Alastair Swanwick told Love Salisbury, “The show’s producer contacted back in December 2019, asking whether we can help them with their next show. It’s a big challenge, but we looked at all the different elements and realised we had the right skill sets in house and a big enough team – so we said yes.”

In true Lord Alan Sugar style, the boys’ team had to compete with the girls to create a prototype of a brand new smart toothbrush for children, along with an accompanying app to encourage teeth brushing.

Innovate Designs on Endless Street, Salisbury

The whole team met at the Salisbury studio on Endless Street, which provided the filming location for the app development part of the task.

The boys’ team came up with an infamous brown “wand” shaped brush and a wizard-based app. The girls’ team created a colourful rocket-shaped brush with a terrifying “tooth” character.

Described as one of the toughest design challenges ever attempted on the show, the candidates had to design a 3D virtual brush character and control it using a motion capture suit. They also had to design the app, product logo, and a working prototype of the brush, which was printed using a rare 3D printer.

Ben and Charlie helped the candidates design their brushes. Charlie recalls, “After we did all the sketching, we looked at the logo and branding design and with only a couple of weeks to go before filming we decided to do the packaging as well.”

Charlie, Innovate Design’s digital designer added, “Being part of the Innovate team taking part in the Apprentice filming was quite surreal. The amount of filming we all did for just a few minutes was incredible – repeating ourselves, redrawing bits of my work because the cameraman missed it, or doing things again from another angle all added to the excitement. We were all on really tight deadlines to get everything designed and printed overnight.

“Overall it was enjoyable, a real privilege and very enlightening – plus the candidates aren’t all that bad behind the scenes!”

With only a day to complete the task, and after working all through the night, the Innovate Design team managed to help the candidates produce working prototypes that should have taken more than 6 months to develop.

Looking back on their achievements, project lead James said, “The design team have been amazing to work with I’m so impressed by the way that they’ve handled themselves with high pressure of cameras and the time that they had, they did an amazing job, really proud of them.”

For founder Alister, featuring on the show is like completing a full circle.

“20 years ago Lord Sugar wrote an article in his newspaper column recommending us for all the help that we give to inventors. This gave us great credibility at the time and brought us new clients. Backstage during the filming, I was able to thank Lord Sugar personally and present him with our own specially designed Lord Sugar toothbrush. It was fantastic to meet the man himself in person and to say thank you for his support from all that time ago.”

You can watch Innovate Design on episode 2, Series 16 of The Apprentice. Available on BBC iPlayer here.

Written by
Beth Doherty
View all articles
Written by Beth Doherty