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Full biography

SAHAR HASHEMI OBE

For her career’s third act, the lawyer-turned-successful entrepreneur, Sahar Hashemi has used her deep knowledge of both the corporate and startup worlds to become an internationally recognized thought leader on encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour in big organisations.

Her third book, START-UP FOREVER, HOW TO ENCOURAGE A START-UP CULTURE IN A BIG COMPANY, released in March 2019, and named The Financial Times Best Business Book of the Month is a straightforward approach to this much sought after question. It’s based on her own personal experience and sets out 10 simple but powerful shifts in day to day behaviour to move organisations towards a more agile innovation-friendly culture more in step with the external world of fast ruthless disruption.

As founder of the UK’s first coffee bar chain, Coffee Republic, which she started with her brother Bobby in 1995 built it into one of the UK’s most recognised high street brands with 110 bars and a turnover of £30m she understands entrepreneurial behaviour to the core.  The book she wrote about her journey of entrepreneurship, Anyone Can Do It, Building Coffee Republic from our kitchen table is one of the UK’s highest bestselling business books.

But she also has deep experience in the corporate world starting her career in a city law firm and then seeing her first start-up grow into a big business and since speaking to over 400 big companies about what gets in the way of entrepreneurial behaviour in corporate culture.  This makes her perspective unique, very human but also highly actionable.

She is also currently co- chair of the Government Scale Up Taskforce, on the advisory board of The Hundred new cricket competition and is actively involved in the roll-out of Change Please, a social enterprise that trains and hires homeless people to run coffee carts.

Sahar was awarded an OBE for services to the UK economy and to charity, named by Director magazine as one of its Top 10 Original Thinkers, named Pioneer to the life of the Nation by HM The Queen and Young Global leader by the World Economic Forum.