Wednesday 26 April 2006


ONE of the UK’s leading business women will be inspiring would-be entrepreneurs on this summer's Big Day.

Sahar Hashemi

Sahar Hashemi, co-founder of the highly successful high street chain Coffee Republic, is to speak at the Big Day Event, on Thursday June 30, which marks the high point of Business Week Tyne and Wear 2005.

Sahar, together with brother Bobby, founded the Coffee Republic 10 years ago and built it into one of the UK’s most recognised brands with an annual turnover of £30m.

She was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, making her one of 237 leaders chosen from 8000 candidates.

At the Big Day Event, to be held at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, she will be sharing her experiences in 'Starting Out – everything you need to make it happen’, with the entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs attending the day’s series of exhibitions, demonstrations, seminars and workshops.

And her own experience is truly remarkable. She was a London lawyer and brother Bobby a New York investment banker, but they gave it all up to pursue their dream.

Neither had any previous knowledge about retail or coffee, but Sahar had developed a passion for the skinny lattes she had tried in New York. The story of how they built a successful business is described in her best-selling book `Anyone Can Do It’, published two years ago.

Business Week Tyne and Wear 2005 chairman Chris Jobe said: "We are extraordinarily fortunate to have Sahar Hashemi attend the Big Day Event. Business Week Tyne and Wear is all about celebrating and showcasing business and entrepreneurship in the area and about encouraging business start-ups. What more inspirational example could we have of going ahead and chasing the dream?"

Other speakers at the Big Day Event will include motivational speaker Clive Gott, who will speak on 'Dealing with the Dirt – how to succeed when things don’t work out’. Clive speaks from personal experience, from losing 96 pounds in weight and becoming a representative Triathlete to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. He has a unique ability to make the seemingly complex seem simple to understand, the challenging seem achievable and the impossible possible.

Business Week Tyne and Wear 2005 is a week-long programme of activities to raise the profile of industry and commerce in Tyne and Wear.

Sponsored by Tweblo, NECC, Business Link, NEMI, Envirowise, and Canon UK, it will showcase the best in enterprise and creativity, bringing together businesses and the public, particularly young people. It will also feature an Enterprise Challenge in which local schools will compete in fun days to produce the best business idea.

The Big Day Event will also feature the final of Biz Idol Tyne and Wear 2005, the challenge to find the most promising entrepreneur of tomorrow and set them up in business.

All the original contestants have been whittled down to seven who will go through to the Grand Final during the Big Day Event, when the overall winner and two runners-up will be chosen.

They each had to satisfy a panel of business-hardened judges, provided by the Entrepreneurs Forum, that they and their business ideas have what it takes to succeed in business.

The winner will walk away with a £2,000 cash prize to spend on their business, free accountancy advice worth £3,000 from accountants Richardson Hall Kennedy, free legal advice worth up to £7,000 from law firm Ward Hadaway, one year’s free 1MB Business Broadband Connection and, from Tedco, for a winner in the service sector with high growth potential, a year’s free office space in its prestigious new Quadrus Centre. Barclays are offering 12 months commission free banking for all day-to-day banking operations. And, for the runner-up, MWB Executive Centres have offered a virtual office package for 12 months worth £1,200.

One entrant who has made it through to the next round, Gill Hedley, of Cullercoats, found the judging for the first heat gave her some useful pointers for her business idea of making and selling luxury silk items for pets.

She said: "The whole thing really helped me to focus my thoughts. It was a bit nerve-racking going before the judges but they were extremely helpful and some of their comments have persuaded me to make alterations to my plans. I’m looking forward to the next round - with some trepidation - but still looking forward to it."

Business Week Tyne and Wear 2005 is funded through the TyneWear Partnership from One NorthEast.

For further information on The Big Day Event, log onto or telephone Ashleigh Quinn on (0191) 386 1133.

For further information on Biz Idol, log onto

For further information on Business Week Tyne and Wear, log onto

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