"Go for your dreams and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!"
Anisa Topan is a British Asian businesswoman, who featured as one of the candidates in The Apprentice. Hoping to impress Lord Sugar, she appeared on our TV screens determined to win his £250,000 business investment.
The 36-year-old landed a successful career, owning a PR fashion agency called The Twenty Fifth Hour. With a focus on independent brands, the agency aims to deliver outstanding brand awareness.
While Anisa stayed in the business competition for an impressive 8 weeks, Lord Sugar sadly fired her after a task in ‘doggy daycare‘.
He deemed her as a “mystery”, but she found great popularity amongst the show’s fans.
Now, in a special interview with DESIblitz, we unravel the ‘mystery’ of Anisa Topan. Learn more about why she applied for The Apprentice, her journey as an entrepreneur and her inspirations.
How did you get into business?
After working in the industry for around 5 years for both agency and in-house roles, I decided to go freelance as I felt I was ready to take the plunge and pitched for my first client in 2008.
Can you tell us more about The Twenty Fifth Hour?
I set up a PR company in 2013 after freelancing for 5 years with various beauty, fashion and lifestyle clients. I re-branded it to The Twenty Fifth Hour as I wanted to create a company name as opposed to it being under my own.
The name signifies the fact that through mindful business we can create extra time in a day.
Why did you decide to apply for The Apprentice?
I really wanted to give it a go. I know I do well under pressure and I love that Lord Sugar invests his own money back into new ventures.
How did you find the overall experience? Can you tell us some of your favourite moments?
I loved Wembley [in Week 4]. There were parts that weren’t shown as they couldn’t feature everything we do on [a] task in one hour and also the Interior Design task [in Week 2].
How has the public reaction been?
Great! People have been genuinely warm and supportive which is awesome.
Did you face any challenges as a British Asian businesswoman?
No, not at all. I really enjoy the opportunities I’ve been offered in this country. I was the first girl in my family to have a University education.
Who are your inspirations?
My father who was a tireless entrepreneur who had great successes as well as failures. Passionate businesswomen and activists Anita Roddick who set up the Body Shop and her daughter Sam Roddick who founded Coco de Mer and who I worked for in-house.
Finally, my current client, Joe Corré, (son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood) who is a brilliant businessman, he co-founded Agent Provocateur and is also a tireless activist for very important causes such as human rights and fracking.
What makes you stand out as an entrepreneur?
My honesty, my realistic approach about what I can achieve for my clients, my skills at empowering my team to work in a positive way. And my ability to work with many different people from all walks of life.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Go for your dreams and don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
What lies next for Anisa Topan?
Keep an eye out for my new project launching in the New Year at www.anisatopan.com.
Through her words, Anisa shows how determination, commitment and passion are essential ingredients for a thriving entrepreneur. While she may not have won Lord Sugar’s favour in the competition, this hasn’t deterred her.
Instead, she looks ahead to the future with positivity and ambition. DESIblitz wishes Anisa good luck on the next stage of her business journey!
Remember to check out our interview with fellow candidate Bushra Shaikh.
Watch The Apprentice on BBC One at 9pms, shown Wednesdays.