WATCHING TV’s The Apprentice it would be easy to believe you were witnessing the death of both commonsense and business.

True, it’s a great de-stresser for viewers because it’s entertaining. But is it business?

Here, young entrepreneurs are prepared to go to enormous lengths of lateral thinking and ego to become Lord Sugar’s business partner and win the £500,000 prize for their company.

There is almost a suspension of reality as they face the weekly tasks in two teams, each led by a Project Manager to help deliver the chaos. And chaos it tends to be.

Last week, they created and sold doughnuts – devising unusual flavours (one involved chocolate and chilli but, sadly, the latter made them inedible, just a small point). While some results appeared to sell well, most looked disastrous.

In fairness, they’re not bakers and, exhibiting their driven side rather than their practical side, resulted in yet another exercise in headless chickens at work. It was like The Great British Bake-Off meets Lord of the Flies.

At this point, it would be easy to lose perspective about the future of business if that’s an example of the best of the current crop of young entrepreneurs. Fortunately, the truth is different.

Take Bolton’s Michaela Wain, who narrowly missed becoming Alan Sugar’s apprentice last year. She has just launched her new business We Connect Construction which is a data-led generation site for the building industry.

As well as finding investment for herself and setting up the company, she is also expecting her first baby with fellow Apprentice contestant Harrison Jones. Michaela is engaging, hard-working and generally inspiring. She was also one of the few members of of last year’s programme to impress with her down-to-earth approach to business.

The other local element to offer hope when despair tends to creep over viewers watching supposedly the best of British on the programme is the recent Bolton and Bury Business Awards.

I was fortunate enough to be involved in the awards’ supplement and talked to all the finalists in the various categories. One of these was the Start-Up category featuring successful businesses like Rachel Birch’s Westhoughton venue The Beer School, brother and sister Andy Cameron and Kerry Barr’s Healthy Mind UK and Lee Watkins Pin iT with his amazing safety Smartwatch for children.

Then there was the Apprentice/Young Person’s category with the real examples of young people making their way in business like winner Ellie Entwistle – a rising star at local success story Bring Digital.

These are the examples that not only offer us enduring role models for other young people to follow but also reflect the true state of business, both in Bolton and in the much wider field.

The real apprentices – and all the other acolytes in companies with their eyes on the prize – daily work their socks off to get ahead and impress their bosses.

Their business days don’t have room for ego and preening. Hard work and dedication rule here. Without a doughnut in sight, thank goodness.