Apprentice star aims to clean up in Leeds

She cleaned up in the bolshiness stakes – and swept away most of the competition in the boardroom with her strong performances.

Now The Apprentice star and young entrepreneur Joanna Riley is sharing her tips on life, business and cleaning with Leeds' students.

Joanna, 26, was in the final five in the last series of the hit BBC show, winning praise from Lord Alan Sugar for her spirit and gutsy determination.

The businesswoman – who started her own cleaning firm aged just 21 – was at Leeds University this week to lend her backing to a new Headingley-based grime fighting firm, Cleaning4Students.

She has plenty of experience in the subject of course – not least because of her own business, but also because her Apprentice team triumphed in one memorable episode when the contestants were asked to create their own kitchen cleaning brands.

Joanna rose from humble beginnings to corporate success with her cleaning company, setting up the business at the age of 22. Her first job was as a hotel waitress, and she later moved into

telecommunications at a call centre. She describes herself as inspired by her twin sons.

On Tuesday, Joanna spent time promoting the new firm and chatting to students in the University's Union about life before, during and after The Apprentice.

"It's fantastic to be here and get an insight into student life because I never went to university," Joanna told the YEP.

"I started off as a cleaner and I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty.

"I have cleaned student properties before and the fridges and ovens could often get quite dirty!

"Cleaning4Students can come along and clean the student flat and do your washing, something that students – and all of us really – cannot be bothered to do!"

Joanna added she has fond memories of her time on The Apprentice, which was the "best thing" she has ever done.

"The competition was fantastic," she said of her fellow contestants.

"I really wanted the job but Sir Alan made me cry because he said 'be proud of yourself and grow to love your business' when he fired me."

Danny Slevin, spokesman for Cleaning4Students, explained the new firm is targeting student houses and offers a pricing structure for a group traditionally known not only for its aversion to cleaning – but also its permanent lack of funds!

"They can call us in for one off clean up after a house party, or they can ask their landlord to pay for it," he said.

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