Sahar Hashemi OBE

After Dinner & Event Speaker (in association with SpeakOut)

Sahar Hashemi OBE is one of UK's most inspirational female entrepreneurs and a powerful speaker on innovation and entrepreneurial mindset sharing with the audience her captivating personal stories of building two famous brands; Coffee Republic, UK's first coffee bar chain, which she and her brother grew to 110 stores and 30m turnover and exited in 2001, and Skinny Candy, the guilt free confectionery brand which she sold to Glisten Plc in 2007.

Sahar recieved her OBE for services to the UK Economy and charity in the 2012 Birthday Honours list. 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. 

She is a bestselling author - her first book 'Anyone Can Do It- building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table' has been translated into 6 languages.
She was named in a list of ten 'Original thinkers whose idea will help shape Britain's recovery' in Director magazine. Anyone Can Do It is 2nd highest selling book on entrepreneurship on Amazon after Richard Branson's book.

Her second book 'Switched On' is about developing the entrepreneurial mindset and its resonance for employees in large corporations. The premise of the book is that tools and behaviours, which were traditionally the preserve of entrepreneurs, are now much needed in the corporate world. Entrepreneurial behaviour, which doesn't come naturally in a corporate environment, should be learned and actively encouraged.

2019 saw Sahar publish 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 had an 'Ask Sahar' column in Director magazine where readers every month asked her questions about innovation, customer service and the entrepreneurial mindset in the workplace.
In 2011 Sahar was then nominated by the magazine as one of the Top 10 Original Thinkers.

She sits on the prestigious Entrepreneurs Forum which provides informal and personal advice to government on business and enterprise policies.

In detail:
*Formerly a lawyer, Sahar has been recognised for her achievements as an entrepreneur by Her Majesty the Queen and named as a 'Pioneer to the life of the nation'.
*She was also named 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 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.

What she offers you:
An internationally recognised speaker, Sahar's captivating and uplifting speeches are unique as she converges her own enthralling 'story' with key themes of change management and employee engagement. 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 makes a strong impact, igniting 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
      •    Customer Service - Stepping Into the Customer's Shoes
      •    Persistence and Resilience
      •    Embracing Change - Working Outside your Comfort Zone

To book Sahar Hashemi OBE, contact Emkay Entertainments Agency via Alternatively, speak to a booking agent directly on 01506 855 555.


We were having a fantastic annual conference on Friday - that is until Sahar arrived and then it just got went to another level! Her delivery was perfect and the similarities about what she achieved and what we at e.surv are looking to achieve really struck a chord with the audience".

"Sahar went down an absolute storm, Thomson's People absolutely loved her story and many, I know, feel inspired to leap!"
Thomsons Online Benefits

"the postcards we collected following your workshop 'Get out' clearly demonstrate that our team were genuinely excited by the prospect of stepping into the customers shoes.... Thank you for significantly contributing to our day"
CEO of David Lloyd

"Everyone in the room understood and took away the message that we are all responsible for the success of our business and that applying a more entrepreneurial approach will pay dividends not only in terms of revenue and profit but also the enjoyment that individuals gain from their work".
MD of Nycomed

"If every leader in corporate life had the drive, determination and sheer courage of Sahar, businesses would be in an even better place. Sahar is an amazing entrepreneur, and her lessons are absolutely relevant no matter what business you are in".
Karen Geary, Group HR Director, The Sage group PLC

''Your new book is engaging and spot on"
Dr Frank Mastiaux CEO E.ON Climate & Renewable

"Judging by the feedback that we have received, it seems as though the 'Switched On' presentation was very well received - certainly hit the spot in terms of how people in Group xxxx would like to work smarter. If you get the chance to send us a one pager on the "habits", then that would be great - we could all do with a reminder from time-to-time."
MD Barclays Bank

"She took her audience on a 30-minute ride- taking them through a heart-tugging and sincere tale of how she made it big in business.... Her story was a little like the Alchemist, and the audience wouldn't stop clapping even after Hashemi stepped down from the stage" Advertising Association World Conference,

'Sahar's passion for innovation energises the room. The equivalent of a double espresso....'
London Innovation Forum

"Your story inspired many last year and has become one of the most memorable sessions discussed with the MD's"
Head of Learning, NATWEST Branch Banking

"The impact you had on everyone's mindset. This was very visible the next day - the audience had a real "can do" spirit. This was most evident when one speaker caused a significant reaction from the audience by being pessimistic and resistant to trying anything new or different. I do hope you appreciate what an impact you made and I thank you once again."
Chief Health Professions Officer, Department Of Health

"It was the best speech of the conference.... Your speech not only kept audience glued to their seats but also drew the delegates in and held their attention... Please accept our thanks for delivering wonderful motivational speech."
Middle East HR Conference & Expo 2007 ,Dubai

"She was like a breath of fresh air"
Police Strategic Command Course

"You were mindblowingly marvellous"

'I came away with a spring in my step and a smile of my face'
RIM- Blackberry

"Sahar was a great success at our workshop in Stockholm. She did an excellent job of taking on our brief about 'brand' and converging it with her own story. The result was fantastic and hit all the right notes"

"Thank you for making Confluence 2008, Infosys' client conference, a huge success this year. Your energising talk on the necessity of passion to drive business growth was inspiring for everyone. From the "Expect to get 19 No's for anything worthwhile" story of the banker's loan to your upstart perspective with "Don't watch the competitor ahead of you watch the maverick behind you", your personal anecdotes for leveraging creativity and determination were great lessons. I overheard the audience quoting "Leap and the net will appear" for days afterward! Needless to say, our expectations were surpassed, and any conference organisers would be lucky to have you speak at their event in the future."

"Speakers included Former Prime Minister of Spain but the young woman, Sahar Hashemi, stole the show."
Advertising Age

"You were amazing. You scored 97 on evaluation forms - highest score ever."

"We had exceptionally positive feedback - she really struck the right note".
Boozallen Hamilton

"We have had many speakers address our audience of business owners - but the feedback after your story was exceptional."

"General Colin Powell was outstanding and Sahar Hashemi earned top marks on the evaluation sheets."
Yorkshire International Business Convention

"Your presentation was a total sell-out as even all your books were sold in half an hour!"
Global Leadership Forum Malaysia

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

Extract from DIRECTOR February 2011
10 original thinkers, 10 big ideas to shape the UK's recovery Ideas are the building blocks of innovation. But they are also the tools with which we dismantle unfashionable models. And there is rarely a more fitting time to refresh old ways than after a recession, when good ideas can be an antidote to flagging fortunes. Ideas need champions.

Our 10 original thinkers have varying backgrounds and fields of interest, but they are all British, and they are all connected by a single ambition to redesign an established concept so that it fits the demands of the future, whether for the good of business, or society. From academics, such as Dr Rachel Armstrong, who believes architecture should mimic the natural environment it seeks to replace, to entrepreneurs such as Sahar Hashemi, who trusts in the capability of corporations to nurture future entrepreneurs, these are the original thinkers whose ideas will help shape Britain's recovery.

The list includes Jonathan Ives (Apple), Sir Tim Berners Lee, Philip Graves and Charles Leadbetter

Sahar Hashemi
Who? Co-founder of Coffee Republic and founder of Skinny Candy.

Big idea Large firms aren't fun places for creative people. Most corporations actively inhibit innovation, stifling creativity with a combination of process, silos and the quest for efficiency. But it's possible for employees to force change-as corporate entrepreneurs. Hashemi says 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. The comfort provided by a regular salary, company resources and colleagues to bounce ideas off is a platform for inspirational work, not a creative inhibitor.

In her own words
"Is it any coincidence that top management is often on the top floor? That's just about as far away from the customers as you can get."

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