Business strategist Anita Shah is the first candidate to have been fired from the fifth series of The Apprentice.

The 35-year-old admitted she was "gutted" to have been the first contestant given the boot by Sir Alan Sugar.

In the first episode of the new series, aspiring entrepreneurs were charged with starting a cleaning company and the girl's team - named Ignite and led by Mona Lewis - found themselves in the boardroom after earning less than the boys.

Shah was in charge of the girls' expenditure and had praised her team mates for finishing the task under budget.

She said during the episode: "Well done, we've come in just within budget but I think we've used our budget wisely."

When firing Shah, Sugar said: "My gut instinct is telling me something; Anita, you put yourself forward as one of Britain's best business prospects.

"You showed no initiative in spotting that you were going for a disaster and on that basis... Anita. You're fired!"

In her exiting taxi, Shah said that Sir Alan "doesn't particularly like lawyers. Let's see in ten years if he doesn't sit and think - maybe I made the wrong decision."

26/03/2009 00:42:47