Sahar Hashemi, 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, and one of the first players in the ‘coffee revolution’ that transformed the UK high street.
In 2019 Sahar published her latest book Startup Forever. She explains the purpose of the book. “In my work, I’m always asked the same questions: • ‘How can we grow big but act small?’ • ‘How can we encourage innovative thinking and drive growth by finding different and new ways of doing things?’ • ‘As we face disruptive change, how can we be more agile? More resilient? Less stuck in our ways?’ • ‘How can I get my people to think outside the box, to experiment, and take the initiative?’ • ‘How can I get everyone in the company to think more like entrepreneurs?’ The ten shifts in the book are my answers to these questions. The solutions I have picked up on my journey are, in fact, strikingly common sense. They are simple shifts in how to approach everyday work with an entrepreneurial mind-set together with day-to-day actions anyone can take to put this more entrepreneurial mind-set to work.
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 on Amazon after Richard Branson’s book.
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 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 a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos. She is a mentor to Change Please, a charity that provides pop-up coffee bars run by homeless people, giving them the help and support they need to turn their lives around. In other areas Sahar currently writes for Inc.com , sits on he advisory board of the Fashion Trust offering business support to new designers and is helping Bristol University launch a first of its kind degree course combining innovation and entrepreneurship with traditional subjects.
In her speeches Sahar outlines the habits that are the basis of Startup Forever which encourage entrepreneurial behaviour in organisations of all types and sizes. These habits will make companies nimbler, more creative, more customer-centric more resilient and better places to work. She ignites the audience with a ‘can do’ spirit and the tools and habits to ‘make it happen’
Igniting Creativity and innovation
Entrepreneurial Leadership – Encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour in a corporate environment
Customer Service – Stepping Into the Customer’s Shoes
Persistence and Resilience
Embracing Change – Working Outside your Comfort Zone
Praise for Startup Forever
Sahar Hashemi has a gift for storytelling. These pages radiate the warmth and humour with which she has passionately spoken so many times about her own experiences as an entrepreneur and subsequent conversations with ‘big business’. There’s an oversupply of frameworks and tools at the disposal of the 21st century ‘intrapreneur’, but this commonsense canter through 10 habits and no less than 34 small but significant ‘shifts’ is a well-crafted wakeup call to the dormant entrepreneur in all of us. Inspiring, human, humble. Just like the author.” Carl Nagel, Global Marketing Innovation Director, Jacobs Dowe Egberts
“This book is about how big companies learn more from smaller ones than vice versa; the biggest learning should be how to be big but entrepreneurial, in other words create an organisation that is driven by its own form of “intrepreneurship” … these are the companies that will win!!!” Allan Leighton, Chairman of The Co-operative Group, Former CEO of Asda, Chairman of Royal Mail
“This is a wonderful book, full of ideas and practical tips on how to make the big established firm more entrepreneurial and innovative. It belongs on the shelf of all managers working in big firms.”Costas Markides, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School
“A must read book to help managers reflect upon and leverage their state of mind. Sahar Hashemi succeeds in reconciling the brain with the heart through common sense, thereby providing a toolkit to foster, build and maintain the entrepreneurial culture which established big companies need to survive in today’s world.” Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group
“I still remember the impact of Sahar’s speech at the LinkedIn Talent Connect London a few years ago – her story on creating an entrepreneurial mindset in large companies resonated with our audience and I am glad those tips are now turned into a book.” Carole Zibi, Marketing Director, LinkedIn
“Sahar is a powerful catalyst to drive entrepreneurship within big corporations. This is not an easy topic, the risk of staying at theory level is high. The reason why I am actively endorsing Sahar is because she provided me and my organization with tangible tools to start making changes immediately. Her personal story is genuine, down to earth, super inspiring and extremely interesting to follow. She talks to people’s heart in a way that awakens the entrepreneur inside. She sells a mindset and she equips you to go make it happen. Her deep experience with corporations makes her suggestions and her collection for do’s and dont’s very actionable. She does not provide theory and that’s it. She is a change agent, a catalyst of change to drive entrepreneurship with a tangible and ready to use approach.” Stefano Volpetti, Vice President, Proctor & Gamble
Sahar inspires international business audiences with her unique story. To book her as a Business Speaker, After-dinner Speaker or Motivational Speaker, contact a Prime Performers Booking Agent via the online booking enquiry form or alternatively call 020 7251 8222 for further information.
- Popular television and radio host currently presenting National Geographic's flagship current affairs/talkshow hybrid, Explorer, which is broadcast to 170 countries worldwide.
- Former Chairman and CEO of Marks and Spencer.
Lord (Stuart) Rose
- Michael is a wonderful speaker who appears on This Week with Andrew Neil and presents the Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys for BBC2.