The Apprentice winner Joseph Valente’s plumbing firm that he set up with Lord Sugar has gone bust owing almost £2million.
The Italian entrepreneur impressed the business tycoon with his business plan of franchising his plumbing company.
Ultimately the billionaire decided his idea was more worthy of investment than runner-up Vana Koutsomitis’ gamified dating app during the series that aired at the end of 2015.
However creditors have hit out at Mr Valente, who they claim must have known his firm ImpraGas was in trouble, as reported by the Daily Mirror.
Nathan Oselton, from One Word Graphics, is owed £2,500 by the firm.
He said: ‘I feel pretty angry and mad about the way the company has behaved. It has always been a bit of a struggle getting paid.
The Italian entrepreneur (right) impressed the business tycoon with his business plan of franchising his plumbing company
‘My accountant has looked at the paperwork from the liquidators and it does not look like he was making money for quite a while.’
Speaking about his winner Mr Valente as the time, Lord Sugar said: ‘Joseph is a great example of what’s possible.
‘He turned his life around and decided he was going to go to work and here he is today, a well-deserved winner of The Apprentice and I look forward to him being my business partner.
‘I hope it [his win] inspires a lot of people to see what is possible in this world.’
But it has all gone wrong for the entrepreneur who received £250,000 from the business tycoon to set up ImpraGas.
The Italian entrepreneur (pictured middle) received £250,000 for winning The Apprentice to set up his plumbing firm
Two years after the programme finished, Mr Valente and Lord Sugar parted company, and just before lockdown the company went into voluntary liquidation.
Mr Valente was expelled at the age of 15 and started his career as an apprentice before going on to found his own plumbing business in Peterborough.
However two years after the programme finished, Mr Valente and Lord Sugar parted company, and just before lockdown the company went into voluntary liquidation. In total 34 firms are owed £1.95million, including £400,000 owed to HMRC.
Mr Valente, 31, from Peterborough, told the Daily Mirror: ‘We had to shut down part of the organisation and it meant that some creditors were not paid.
‘Our main priority was that staff kept their jobs and our customers were looked after.
‘The intellectual property of the company was sold to another company and the old company was put into liquidation.
‘The majority of creditors continue to trade with the new company.
‘At every moment we were trading to keep the company alive.’