Life After The Apprentice

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

Mergim Butaja from BBC’s The Apprentice talks exclusively to The Executive Magazine, on being a casualty of the ruthless Lord Sugar, and life after the show.


“Prior to appearing on the apprentice, I was a young adult with very little experience in the business world. One thing for sure, I was an opportunist. Whilst working on various 9-5 sales jobs I’d always look to advance my income outside of work because I took on the responsibility to care for my family of seven. Regular 9 to 5 jobs just weren’t paying the bills.”

Mergim Butaja

On being ‘fired’

“So, Lord Sugar decided to give me the finger “you’re fired” however I left the process with great enthusiasm as the experience and kind words from the man himself gave me that extra determination to succeed in business and turn my dream of becoming a millionaire into a reality. I now had to grab the bull by its horns and set up a business without any capital.”

What next?

“I was introduced by a good friend of mine into the mergers and acquisitions sector, after analysing the industry, I instantly knew this sector was made for me. Therefore, myself and good friend decided to set up International Business Acquisitions Ltd, and few years down the line we are now regarded as the go-to company for people looking to sell or buy a business. Due to our success we will be expanding our reach into the corporate finance sector come January 2018 under IBA Corporate.”

How have you found running a successful business since appearing on the apprentice?

“It’s been the toughest experience of my life, everyone talks about how great it is running your own business etc however they don’t explain that 90% of the time you’re on an emotional roller coaster ride and only 10% of the time you’ll enjoy. Business is not easy, believe me, and not many people know this, I went through a mental breakdown to the point where my body and mind were exhausted, and I collapsed. I spent a night in hospital on a drip. However, having said that, the 10% is absolutely priceless and words can’t explain the feeling when things start to click, and you start to see the hard work develop into something special. Business is not for the faint hearted, be prepared for the up’s and down’s.

“The advice I’d give to anyone is to embrace and enjoy the journey of success, also work SMARTER and not HARDER!”

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