Sahar Hashemi OBE is one of the UK's most inspirational female entrepreneurs, a bestselling author and an internationally recognised thought leader and keynote speaker on innovation and entrepreneurship. For her career’s third act, the lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, Sahar Hashemi has used her deep knowledge of both the corporate and startup worlds to become an internationally recognised thought leader on encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour in big companies.
From a top-notch corporate lawyer who knew nothing about retail to an entrepreneur who turned the Brits from tea lovers into coffee drinkers, Sahar Hashemi has a great story to share as a keynote speaker. For her career’s third act, Sahar Hashemi has used her deep knowledge of both the corporate and startup worlds to become an internationally recognised thought leader on encouraging entrepreneurial behaviour in big companies.
Her third book, START-UP FOREVER, HOW TO BUILD A START-UP CULTURE IN A BIG COMPANY, released in March 2019, and named The Financial Times Best Business Book of the Month provides a practical toolkit to unlock the magic and energy of entrepreneurial mindset in large organisations.
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.
She believes what makes start up culture different from corporate culture isn’t the stereotypical foosball tables and company hoodies. It’s the special connection start up employees have with the business they work in and the customers they serve. They feel a deeper, more authentic sense of purpose and being part of a greater whole, that brings out their creativity, resourcefulness and problem-solving ability. This enables them to accomplish extraordinary things, often against all odds which feeds back into the culture to foster even greater commitment and better performance.
This special connection isn’t limited to startups. Big companies can develop this culture too. Sahar believes it’s just about subtle shifts in behavior and mindset that will get you there. That’s why her perspective is unique. Her message isn’t just theoretical. Sahar has been-there-done-that, and her actionable, common sense advice is relayed through her deeply personal story. By connecting with the audience through the heart, not just the head, she is able to bring about real, long-lasting change.
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. She has recently chaired the UK government Scale Up Taskforce. She sits on the board of the Scale up Institute, Change Please Coffee, ECB Hundred Cricket and BFC Fashion Trust.
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