Lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, Sahar Hashemi has used her deep knowledge of both the corporate and start up worlds to become an internationally recognised thought leader on entrepreneurial mindset. She has been described as a change agent and problem solver.
As founder of two disruptive businesses and the author of a bestselling book on entrepreneurship, she understands entrepreneurial behaviour to the core. However, she also understands corporate behaviour to the core, evolving out of her early corporate law career, then seeing the transformation of culture when her start up grew into a big company, and this last decade speaking to over 400 large organisations. This combination of personal experience in both worlds gives her a unique and deep perspective into entrepreneurial behaviours, what blocks it in big organisations and what it takes to unleash it.
Sahar left her legal career in a top London law firm after five years to start Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US style coffee bar chain with her brother Bobby. In 5 years, they built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of £30m.
She left the day-to-day management of Coffee Republic and published a bestselling book about her journey, Anyone Can Do It, to demystify the idea that entrepreneurship is an innate personality trait, which has been translated into 6 languages and is the 2nd-highest selling book on entrepreneurship after Richard Branson.
She then founded Skinny Candy, a market-segment defining brand of sugar free sweets which was sold to confectionery conglomerate Glisten PLC in 2007.
Her latest booked Start-Up Forever, How To Build A Start-Up Culture In A Big Company, released in March 2019, was named The Financial Times Best Business Book of the Month. Start Up Forever has been much acclaimed in the corporate world by throwing away the excuses which normally stifle entrepreneurial culture and providing a practical easy to implement toolkit to unleash the agility and innovation of entrepreneurial thinking which all large companies need.
Sahar was nominated by Director magazine as one of its Top 10 Original Thinkers, alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Jonathan Ive. She has been named “Pioneer to the life of the Nation” by Her Majesty The Queen and Young Global leader by the World Economic Forum. She was listed in the Maseratti 100, a definitive list of Britain’s most successful philanthropists, investors, mentors and advisors. In June 2012 Sahar was awarded an OBE for services to the UK economy and to charity.
Sahar is currently working on her exciting new project Buy Women Built launched in March 2022 to boost economic recovery by bringing consumer support and recognition to female founded businesses. She sits on the board of the Scale Up Institute and on the advisory board of Digital Boost, Change Please Coffee and The Hundred Cricket.
Previous Judges at The Great British Workplace Wellbeing Awards
Speakers at the Great British Workplace Wellbeing Conference