Curating Culture: Visionaries Who Made Coffee an Integral Part of Society

9 May 2019

Like many people, I wake up each morning and look forward to that delicious cup of warm coffee to start my day off - it’s become almost second nature. When I arrive at work, I turn on my computer, fill up the coffee machine, put my oats in the microwave and proceed to make my coffee. It’s then a quick walk back to my desk to sit and go through emails and the never-ending stream of twitter posts, while thoroughly enjoying every sip.

For something that I do every day, I was determined to dig a little deeper because I was certain that if I looked through our little book of contacts, I’d be certain to find a few entrepreneurs who many coffee drinkers owe a big thanks to.

So, pour yourself a quick coffee, sit back and enjoy reading through this list of visionaries who have been behind some of the world biggest coffee brands.

Now you may have heard of Coffee Nation, but have you heard of its founder and serial entrepreneur, Martyn Dawes ? Martyn spotted an opportunity to create a self-service gourmet mini coffee bar inside supermarkets and petrol stations. Despite leaving school before his A-Levels, Martyn overcame adversity, created an entrepreneurial culture and lead a high-growth business before selling to Whitbread in 2011.

Sahar Hashemi  is one of the UK's most inspirational female entrepreneurs after co-founding Coffee Republic. Inspired by a trip to New York, she left her career as a successful corporate lawyer who knew nothing about retail to become an entrepreneur who managed to turn the Brits from tea lovers into coffee drinkers. Recounting her journey of turning a kitchen table idea into a £50m business, Sahar shares how to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset, women in business and igniting creativity and innovation.

If premium coffee is more your style, then you may have heard of this man. Best known for creating the UK specialist coffee brand ‘Cooper’s Coffee’, David Cooper is the definition of a serial entrepreneur with eleven businesses to his name. As the first ever UK-qualified World Barista Championships Judge in an elite group of only 56 worldwide, I think it’s safe to say that David knows his coffee. To add to his list of achievements, he joined with De’Longhi to create the world’s rarest and most premium coffee available, Caffé Raro, and later Amore del Caffe, which sold in Rigby & Peller stores with proceeds going to the Macmillan Cancer’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning.

I do find myself on hot days yearning for a cold drink, and if like me, this is a similar feeling for you, then we can thank the founder of Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. Jim Cregan  fell in love with iced coffee during a visit to Australia (as a fellow Aussie myself, I can’t blame him!). On returning to the UK, he decided to start his own company with the help of his sister. His jargon-free and down-to-earth attitude distils his story across schools, colleges, institutions and businesses, inspiring budding entrepreneurs to follow their passions.

This is a name you probably haven’t heard of before, but Scott Bedbury  is one of the world leading brand architects and helped redesign Starbucks to what we know it as today. I’m sure there are many of you who have had a Frappuccino, but it was Scott who was the one to bottle Frappuccino for the grocery channel, develop Starbucks Ice-Cream and establish a global relationship with United Airlines. An expert in teaching audiences the best practices with regards to consumer insights, brand design, advertising and developing non-traditional branding tools, Scott brings fresh and valuable insights into an elusive, yet vital topic.

I’m sure you’ve heard of these coffee companies, but what better way to learn more about the companies we have learnt to love, then hearing from the brains behind their success. Sharing their incredible stories, they will leave you motivated and inspired to go out and achieve at the highest level, and push the boundaries to pave the way for future brands.

For further information or to book one of our speakers, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070  or email .

Newsletter Sign Up

If you liked this article then why not sign up to our newsletters? We promise to send interesting and useful interviews, tips and blogs, plus free event invites too.

Speakers Corner Newsletter

* indicates required

Have an enquiry?

Send us a message online and we'll respond within the hour during business hours. Alternatively, please call us our friendly team of experts on +44 (0) 20 7607 7070.

Speakers Corner (London) Ltd,
Ground and Lower Ground Floor,
5-6 Mallow Street,