Archive for May, 2012

Sahar Hashemi, Founder of Coffee Republic to speak at the DCU Ryan Academy, 6th June

As the second year of the Business Innovation Programme draws to a close, the DCU Ryan Academy are delighted to announce that Sahar Hashemi, founder of Coffee Republic and Skinny Candy will deliver the keynote speech at the end of year showcase on 6th June at the Ryan Academy.

Coffee Republic was the UK’s first US style coffee bar, founded in 1995 by Sahar and her brother Bobby. Both gave up professional jobs to start the business and together they  built one of the UK’s most recognisable high street brands with an annual turnover of £30million.

In 2003 Sahar published ‘Anyone Can Do It – Building Coffee Republic from our Kitchen Table’ which documents her journey in turning Coffee Republic from an idea into on of the main players in the ‘coffee revolution’. The book  tackles some of the fears and answers some of the elusive questions about what it really takes to become an entrepreneur.  ‘Anyone Can Do It’ has reached #1 on the Amazon business chart and is second highest selling book on entrepreneurship ever published in the UK.

In 2005 Sahar founded Skinny Candy, a brand of guilt free sweets and has established herself as a successful business motivation speaker, talking to international blue chip companies and conferences about innovation, creativity, branding and the entrepreneurial mindset  Her latest book ‘Switched On’ applies her experiences as an entrepreneur to the corporate sphere.


HEA Springboard announce further funding of DCU Ryan Academy Business Innovation Programme

The Minister for Education and HEA launched Springboard 2012 today at the offices of the INOU.  Representing the graduates of Springboard 2011 were two participants from DCU Ryan Academy Business Innovation Programme.

Gerry Rellis, who has a career spanning 30 years in the print industry credited the additional innovation skills he developed while on the Business Innovation Programme as the key influencer in the development of his new business.   Gerry also cites the multitude of workshops, seminars and keynote addresses from global innovation specialists during the programme as providing the grounding and reality required to enable participants to put their new found skills into action, not only in the host company placement but afterwards in new career opportunities.”

Gerry however, is keen to emphasise that, in addition to the top class academic input from the best lecturers and industry leaders, the focus on self development and career activation workshops and skills was fundamental in ensuring that 126 highly qualified professionals with cumulatively 2184 years fully realise their potential!


Ronan Slater, who has had a successful career over 25 years in financial services was equally forthright in his praise of the Business Innovation Programme.   The design of the programme, encompassing emerging business skills such as innovation and creativity in addition to the career development emphasis, allowed me to offer value added and a greater sense of self confidence to my new employer.  The ability to continue the programme, having found employment not only improved my value proposition but also benefitted my new employer.  Ronan, returned to employment in February 2012 following 10 months on the live register.


The Business Innovation Programme has been expanded for September 2012 and will now offer two streams. The Innovation Management Stream is designed for experienced graduate managers/professionals who wish to lead innovation capacity within organisations.

The Practical Marketing stream is designed for supervisors/technicians who may have little or no business skills but who have the capacity to deliver innovation on the ground in organisations, and improve their prospects of obtaining work at management level.