The Great British Businesswoman Series interviews Sahar Hashemi - Entrepreneur, Co-founder of Buy Women Built, Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, and so much more.


As we prepare for this year’s Great British Businesswoman Awards we’ve set up a great panel of judges to help us select the winners - based on their experience, and mission to celebrate the best women in business. 

The Great British Businesswoman Awards brings together and celebrates the women who are changing the face of business across the United Kingdom - and having judges like Sahar on board who have worked incredibly hard to get where they are today, we’re able to celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the best businesswomen in a number of industries. 

Sahar has had an extensive business journey from studying law at the University of Bristol and left her legal career in a top London law firm after five years to start Coffee Republic, the UK’s first US-style coffee bar chain with her brother Bobby. She then went on to publish the bestselling book about her journey, Anyone Can Do It, and her latest book, Start-Up Forever, released in March 2019, which was named The Financial Times Best Business Book of the Month. 

Most recently Sahar has Co-founded Buy Women Built, an online platform encouraging people to buy from brands that are women-built, encouraging and enabling more success for businesswomen. 

This list of successes is not exhaustive, and in between these milestones, Sahar has achieved a number of other successes. She now joins us as a judge for the 2022 Great British Businesswoman Awards, helping us celebrate some of the best women in business today.    

We caught up with Sahar to discuss her experience as a businesswoman, what these awards mean to her, and what we can expect from her in the future. 

Throughout your career so far, have you noticed any significant changes in regards to women in business and the development of this topic?

“All I know is that I’m surrounded by absolutely incredible women that are doing the most innovative, disruptive things in their industries - women are absolutely smashing it out there. That’s why I’m such a supporter of these awards because women are doing incredible things and we’re not shouting about it enough.

Discussing facing hurdles in the workplace due to being a woman, Sahar said, “I never have really, as a female, to be honest. I’ve always felt that if I’ve been bad at anything or had weaknesses as a human, I’ve never really seen that as an issue because I’m a woman. I know a lot of people in corporate settings have to do a lot to break through certain barriers, but overall I think we’ve had tremendous amounts of opportunities as women today. We’re very lucky to live in this society that enables us to achieve whatever we want.

“I’ve always believed that the more we talk about the barriers, the more people sort of see it and, and visualize it even if it’s not there sometimes. So I think that’s why it’s so important to shine the light on the women that are able to inspire others,” she said. 

What does it mean for you to be a part of this awards programme, and what made you want to be a judge/ why do you believe you are a good fit?

“I absolutely love the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and I think is just absolutely incredible in terms of the energy and recognition it creates around businesses. So when I saw there was something dedicated, purely at the British Businesswoman, I was all for it.

“The more we celebrate these women better. I myself have started the brand ‘Buy women Built’, a consumer movement to recognise women-built brands. These women and their brands make a huge difference because if you can see it, you can be it.”

Why do you believe it is important to continue to celebrate women in this way? And why would you encourage people to enter this awards programme?

“Often people say, ‘I’m just a CEO, I’m not a female CEO’ and I get that, for me, I feel I should be judged on the qualities I have regardless of gender. However we do need to inspire more women because as women we have this untapped talent, we are the economic future - especially since hybrid working has unleashed the talent of women. 

“Before many couldn’t unleash this talent because of the practical restrictions that come with being a woman, such as the family duties that fall on women, they tend to be the default caretakers of children. We currently have the unique opportunity, that hybrid working has enabled women to be able to be their best and balance the other needs they’ve got in their life on top of their work life. 

“This is absolutely the time for us to start making this oceanic swell of difference and the best way to do this is to shine the light on all those who have just done such a great job. Why wouldn’t you want to enter?”

What do you hope, and predict for the future of women in business, in both your industry and others? 

“We’ve really moved on from a time where the businesswoman had to look like a man, wearing the power suits, which was the case when I started my career - and that’s great. So, I hope for all women to be able to be unapologetically confident in using their feminine qualities in the workplace. Those are all the qualities we need in the workplace, our empathy, our resourcefulness, our networking, and our vulnerability.”

As well as the future of other women in business, we’d love to hear a bit more about what you’re doing at the moment and what we can expect to see next from you?

“I’m currently focused on my campaign ‘Buy Women Built’, a consumer campaign aiming to shine a light on the women-built consumer brands that we have all around us that we don’t know are women built, that you probably drink all the time, and never even knew they were woman built

“The full project focuses on shining a light on and connecting gen Z with women-built brands. My fridge is currently full of women-built products, my bathrooms full of women-built products, so im definitely showing my solidarity in terms of buying, wearing, eating and drinking women built.”

Lastly, if you had one piece of advice for those women within the business world, what would it be?

“Just leap and the net will appear is my motto,” she said. 

“Just take that job, just do it, don’t overthink, and don’t ask for too much advice. Don’t wait for that mentor to tell you what to do, just do it. If you feel it in your gut, and believe in whatever it may be, go for it. You might make a mistake, but the power of just taking that step is the most powerful thing you can do. Whatever happens, you’ll learn along the way.”

Are you a woman in business with an inspiring story, paving the way for the next generation of female leaders? Enter this year’s Great British Businesswoman Awards here.