Sahar Hashemi

Co-Founder of Coffee Republic

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Sahar Hashemi, a former lawyer, founded Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US style coffee bar chain, with her brother and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with a turnover of £30m.She made Coffee Republic one of the first players in the ‘coffee revolution’ that transformed the UK high street. Sahar is internationally recognized speaker, whose captivating and uplifting speeches combine her own enthralling story with key themes of entrepreneurial leadership, change management and employee engagement.

Sahar left the day to day management of Coffee Republic in 2001 and published a bestselling book called ‘Anyone Can Do It- building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table’' which has been translated into 6 languages and is 2nd highest selling book on entrepreneurship after Richard Branson’s book.

In 2005 Sahar Hashemi started Skinny Candy, high profile brand of guilt-free sweets which she sold to confectionery conglomerate Glisten plc in 2007.

Her latest book ‘Switched On: 10 Habits to Being Highly Effective in Your Job, and Loving it ’ focuses on creating an entrepreneurial mindset for employees. Sahar says, "The future is all about being entrepreneurial in the employee context. You need to bring your whole personality – not just the ‘professional’ you - to work. Move outside your comfort zone, ignite your innate creativity and forget the ‘this is how we’ve always done things’ mentality. Don’t fear failure, fear complacency. You need to see having fun as an essential part of professional success. Living and making a living should be the same thing."

In 2011 Sahar Hashemi was nominated by Director magazine as one of the Top 10 Original Thinkers, taking her place alongside individuals such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and Jonathan Ives, Vice-President of Design at Apple and designer of the iPod. It praised her view that, “Entrepreneurially minded talent shouldn't have to leave large corporations in order to achieve fulfilment. Entrepreneurial behaviour, including ideas like bootstrapping, prototyping and celebrating failure, can help turn stuffy corporations into creative environments. They can also transform automatons into valued, engaged employees”.

In 2011 she was also invited to join the Entrepreneurs Forum set up by UK Business Minister Vince Cable to give advice to the government on enterprise and business policies.  In June 2012 Sahar was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list “for services to the UK economy and to charity”.

Sahar was named ‘Pioneer to the life of the nation’ by Her Majesty The Queen and Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos. She was also named one of 100 most influential women in Britain by Daily Mail and 35 top women in British business by Management Today. In a Shell Livewire survey of inspirational role models Sahar was among the top 5 along with James Dyson and Dame Anita Roddick. She has been on the cover of Director Magazine, Management Today, Observer Magazine, New Business Magazine, Business 550 and Voyager.

By telling her very personal journey, she connects with the audience on an emotional level and brings to life the passion, determination and open mindedness needed to succeed. She outlines the Habits that are the cornerstone of Switched On and  ignitesthe audience with a ‘can do’ spirit and the tools and habits to ‘make it happen’.

  • The Switched On Mindset - Igniting Creativity and Innovation
  • Entrepreneurial Leadership – Encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour in a corporate environment
  • Customer Service – Stepping Into the Customer’s Shoes
  • Branding- Understanding True Brand Value
  • Embracing Change – Working Outside your Comfort Zone
  • Diversity – Empowering women in Business
    Sahar is currently writing her follow-up book to the highly successful Switched On.  She has also been invited to write a regular column for Business Strategy Review, the quarterly magazine of the London Business School.


"She connected with the audience at an emotional level and made a lasting impression" - Microsoft

"It is always inspirational to hear the story from someone who has really pursued their dream and made it come true, particularly in such a down to earth fashion" - GlaxoSmithKline

"Your presentation hit the mark by encouraging people to push back the boundaries, develop a more entrepreneurial approach and simply make things happen!" - GIST

"Her strong message delivered in a natural way free of business psycho-babble" - Jersey Business Awards 2004

"Her energy and 'just do it' attitude go down very well at conferences" - RICS England & Wales

"She is totally inspirational, has laser sharp focus and provides real life strategies for success. Sahar is a top speaker and audiences just adore her" - PWC

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