Founder of Coffee Republic and best-selling Author
Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic, UK’s first American-style coffee bar chain with her brother and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of £30m within five years. Giving up her professional career as a top-notch corporate lawyer in London, they staked everything on a dream and made Coffee Republic one of the main players in the coffee revolution that transformed the UK high street.
Hashemi left the day-to-day management of Coffee Republic in 2001 and published a best-selling book Anyone Can Do It: Building Coffee Republic from Our Kitchen Table, which has been translated into six languages and is the second-highest selling book on entrepreneurship after Richard Branson’s.
In 2005, she founded Skinny Candy, a sugar-free sweets brand. Skinny Candy was sold to confectionery conglomerate Glisten PLC in 2007.
Her most recent book, Switched On, published in 2010, focuses on eight habits that foster a more entrepreneurial mindset for employees. It is based on her experience of the transformation in culture when a small entrepreneurial company becomes big and successful, when the obvious and easy entrepreneurial habits are often forgotten as bureaucracy takes over.
In 2011, Hashemi was nominated by Director magazine as one of its Top 10 Original Thinkers, alongside Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Jonathan Ive. She was also named one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Britain by Daily Mail and 35 Top Women in British Business by Management Today.
In 2011 she was invited to join the Entrepreneurs Forum, set up by UK Business Secretary Vince Cable to give informal personal advice to the government on enterprise policies.
In June 2012, Hashemi was awarded an OBE for services to the UK economy and to charity.