Former Apprentice candidate Jemma Bird, who was fired by Lord Sugar, has pledged to prove him wrong – by pressing ahead with her rejected business plan.

The budding entrepreneur from Aldridge believes her background as a dancer and dance teacher will help her Amplify performing arts school take off.

The 27-year-old was fired in week five of The Apprentice during the coach tours task, admits the going will be a lot tougher flying solo than if she had won Lord Sugar’s backing but remains determined to succeed.

She hit the headlines after pictures of her part time job as a burlesque dancer were discovered online.

In an interview with the Post , Ms Bird said: “Amplify was my business plan I put forward for The Apprentice. Obviously, I didn’t win so I didn’t get the investment.

“But I decided to go ahead with it on my own. It will be a longer road but I am quite happy with that.

“The original business plan I wrote was a franchise model, so the idea would be to have many in the UK and maybe even internationally.

“Without Lord Sugar’s investment I know I have got a long way ahead of but me but I’ve started in my home town and that is my long-term aim.”

Amplify is being billed as “an innovative performing arts coaching company for people of all ages” and is now up and running in Aldridge.

“We opened our studio doors two weeks before Christmas and student numbers are creeping up week by week, “ said Ms Bird.

“It was probably not the best time to open but I wanted to get the doors open and let people know we were there and with The Apprentice finishing I thought the time was right.”

A self-confessed workaholic, she says she generally works seven days a week and also runs ‘The Pin-Ups’, entertainment agency she set up. She is starting small but hopes to grow the business.

Currently, she employs a freelance teacher who specialises in music to complement her dance skills but wants to develop Amplify’s offering to include musical instrument tuition and drama.

“I do hope in the long run we will be able to branch out into other things but we are taking small steps at the moment,” she said.

Apprentice contestant and burlesque dancer Jemma Bird

“I want to offer an all-round view of performing arts and am very much into making them accessible.”

She admits she is entering a competitive sector but is confident she can offer something different.

“I find there is generally quite a dated approach to performing arts coaching and dance,” Ms Bird added.

“There are a lot of competitors out there but it is being done in quite a traditional way.

“I’m conscious of the fact it’s 2015 and kids are into technology, so I need to be on-trend, current and moving with the times. As a result we’ve gone for bright yellow branding and I am looking at doing things like YouTube videos and having an online presence that speaks children’s language.

“Really, I just want to make the arts accessible and cool for kids.”

Achieving that ambition has also seen Ms Bird team up with Acorns Children’s Hospice for the charity’s latest fundraising event.

She will be judging the performances of contestants when she joins the panel at Keep Dancing for Acorns, which takes place on Saturday March 28.

Competitors in pairs or groups will be offered two free dance lessons to perfect their routines before performing in front of a panel of judges.

BBC TV’s Joanne Malin will host the fundraiser at the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham, which will encompass all styles of dance.

Ms Bird said she was delighted to be invited to be a judge.

“I was really flattered they approached me – it’s right up my street,” she said, though she added that, while she respected Simon Cowell, she would not be emulating his judging style.

“I have always admired Simon Cowell, how he made his money and became successful,” she added.

“He is renowned for being quite a nasty judge. I won’t be like him, I think I will want to give everyone ten out of ten.

“I admire people for being creative and I will be the nicest judge people have come across.

“This is for charity. They have got up there and are being creative and deserve a huge pat on the back.”

Reflecting on her time in The Apprentice, Ms Bird said it had been the experience of a lifetime.

“I am actually really lucky,” she said. “I never in a million years thought I would get chosen for the programme and was bowled over when I did.

“I went in there with an excited vibe, my journey on the programme was a really positive one and I was on the winning team four times.

“I saw it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it left me with a smile on my face.”

Dancers aged 14 and over can take part in pairs or groups in Keep Dancing for Acorns. Participants will be required to raise a minimum of £250 and entries must be submitted by February 13. To find out more visit: