Coffee, Jelly and my love of independent businesses (blog piece for Enterprise Nation)

I have just written an article for Coffee Birmingham sponsors, Enterprise Nation here.

Here’s the text below … Enjoy!


Earlier this week, we posted about our support for the inaugural Coffee Birmingham SuperJelly co-working event for solo workers in Birmingham. Here, Coffee Birmingham founder Tim Wilson explains why he thinks solo workers, freelancers and mobile workers should spend a little more time together – while supporting their local independent cafes.

Tim Wilson, founder of Coffee Birmingham In a previous article for Enterprise Nation, I extolled the many virtues of being a coffee loving freelancer, writes Tim (left). So you will be unsurprised to hear that I sat in an independent coffee shop for the large proportion of writing this blog piece. What you may not know is that I am not alone and have shared a coffee table with other freelancers doing their thing. I am not alone in the freelance universe…

In fact, in Birmingham, you will find many of us who share in the desire to live, work and play out of coffee shops. There is a fervent community of small business owners who are mobile and don’t want to just work in an office (or from home) and want to be around others. In fact, I don’t have a desk at home! I have a sofa or a nice chair.

You might be thinking that this is the caffeine talking, and several flat whites later (during the editing process), there is an element of truth regarding my state of caffeination, but the caffeine isn’t fuelling my excitement to tell you about Coffee Birmingham and the global Jelly network which exists all over the world.

The birth of Coffee Birmingham

Coffee Birmingham logo Enthused by a desire to unite small independent businesses across Birmingham, I set up Coffee Birmingham with a primary aim to unite them, to help them grow and to shout about the incredible things that they do … and yes, the coffee shops and the independents that supply and frequent them are an important part of this ecology.

Coffee shops have become one of the ‘go to’ places for small businesses to forge their own identities. What goes on in the shops helps businesses to shape business practice. The quality of product is matched by the communities that exist within them – two things that define independent coffee shops – and the latter, in particular, is one of the reasons why small businesses return to the coffee shops to work, time and time again,

With this in mind, the Jelly co-working movement exists all over the world giving freelancers, soloworkers and people who want to get out of the office for the day an opportunity to meet with like-minded people.

There are Jellies all over the UK, and I am often to be found at the official Birmingham Jelly and have recently launched the Jelly meet-up in Lincoln, too. This month, Coffee Birmingham has joined forces with the official Birmingham Jelly and Enterprise Nation to run a Superjelly (it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a jelly) at three coffee shop locations (instead of the usual one) across the city.

We are doing this because the official Birmingham Jelly is popular and we want to give other small businesses and freelancers the opportunity to come and find out what all the fuss is about regarding this Jelly thing.

Ten reasons to go to your local Jelly

UK Jelly logo 1. Get out of the office
I still know many freelancers and small business owners who don’t escape the office or the home unless it is for domestic chores, or to pick up the kids or purely for leisure. Get out of the office and enjoy a Jelly and it could be one of the best business decisions you make.

2. Got a problem, find a solution
I have regularly always come away from a Jelly having had a few questions and having learnt new things – often it is “geeky” stuff such as digital tools or apps which make my business efficiency greater. Otherwise it is basic – meeting new people.

3. New ideas
Do something different! Don’t just show up with your laptop and your mobile! Ever considered bringing a pen and a simple notepad, some crayons, your knitting. I’ve even known someone bring a ukelele. Be creative!! For many, #jelly represents the ideal opportunity for new personal as well as business ideas.

4. Be Inspired
Isn’t it great to meet with likeminded freelancers, solo workers? Jelly is also about collaboration swapping ideas and mutual support.

5. Real live #Watercoolermoment moment
Much like Enterprise Nation’s daily #Watercoolermoment on Twitter, one of the benefits of Jelly is that it is a place to chat about anything you like but it is also an opportunity to play and to share your knowledge and expertise.

6. Treat yourself.
Eat something nice. Drink a new coffee. Buy a cake. Support locally sourced produce. Whatever it is that you want on the day, this is an opportunity to treat your mind and senses …. and let those diet fads go!

7. Dress for the occasion.
You may work naked at home, but at jelly you should never exposed. Obviously, wearing clothes is a requirement – but unlike going to a business office environment, you can wear what you like (within reason!). Casual is fine.

8. Support local independent business.
By going to Jelly you are supporting the local independent business ecology. This is not just the small business owners you will be talking to but possibly also the venue that you are in!

9. Something to look forward to 
Put Jelly in your calendar safe in the knowledge that you will be coming to an event in which to do something fresh and different and to be around people who think the same thing.

10. Flexible to your business day… come and go as you please!
One of the principle differences between #jelly and other co-working, or indeed networking events, is that there are no formal timings or requirements. If you want to go early, or indeed you need disappear off to other commitments throughout the day (and come back), you can do that. Jelly is flexible to your needs! Much like Jelly – it is wobbly and moulds around the shape of your day (tenuous analogy!)

If these reasons have whetted your appetite for Jelly, and you are in Birmingham, please come along on Friday August 10th for come along on Friday for the SuperJelly or find out where your UK Jelly is here.




#Superjelly is almost here… tomorrow from 9am.

Tomorrow (Friday 10th) is #Superjelly. Sponsored by Small Business Community, Enterprise Nation, if you are a small business or freelancer, come to #Superjelly and meet other business-owners, work, collaborate and share ideas and have a fantastic day.

Remember you can come and go as you please! If you can, please also take advantage of visiting one or more of the three locations on the day.

Where we will be?

We will be at the following locations from 9am

On the day
Exclusive Offers for Jellyheads (mention you are a Jellyhead to a barista):

  • Cafe Ezra at Hotel LaTour: free first drink.
  • Six Eight Kafe, Temple Row: coffee and cake for £4.
  • Urban Coffee Company, Jewellery Quarter: 20% off brunch.


Sign the Declaration of Independents
Show your support for Birmingham independents by signing Coffee Birmingham’s Declaration of Independents.

Free Treats from Coco Meli Bakery
In addition, local bakers Coco Meli Bakery will be offering a range of sweet and savoury samples for Jellyheads to enjoy – on a first come first served basis.

If you have any questions or queries, please get in touch.

In the meantime, we really look forward to seeing you tomorrow.




Enterprise Nation confirmed as an Official Sponsor of Coffee Birmingham

We are delighted to confirm Enterprise Nation as an official sponsor of Coffee Birmingham.

Enterprise Nation helps people to start and grow their businesses by putting them in touch with other business owners – providing access to the best tools and resources, and by sharing their own knowledge online through their blog, guides and twitter chats online, their books and at live events.





Coffee Birmingham founder Tim Wilson is a big advocate of Enterprise Nation and how it supports small businesses. “What EN does completely complements Coffee Birmingham’s aim to build Birmingham’s independent business community and to give small independent businesses opportunities to showcase what they do.”

As San Sharma, Community Manager at Enterprise Nation says, “Enterprise Nation is supporting #SuperJelly and Coffee Birmingham as a fan of both coffee and coworking. EN actually started life in the West Midlands, and we hope to make new friends through this fun initiative.”

With the #Superjelly event in particular, the opportunity for individuals and businesses to chat, exchange ideas and work together is of particular excitement to EN. As San states, “Jelly is a great excuse for hardworking home-grown business owners to get out of the house and work with new people. We’re really happy to be involved.” / tw. @e_nation / facebook here




Coffee Birmingham working with the Coffee Club Collective

We are delighted to confirm the Coffee Club Collective as a supporter and will be working with them throughout September.

The story of the Coffee Club Collective is simple: a group of young and ambitious artists decided to meet up regularly at Urban Coffee Company one afternoon a week and create together! What a great advert to demonstrate how coffee shops are natural hives of community and creative activities.

Tris Holliday, one of the artists from the Coffee Club Collective, takes up the story, “The independent coffee houses of Birmingham have been a second home for all of Coffee Club.” He goes to onto say, “in them, many prints and ideas have been created, and countless meetings have been had. So it feels very fitting that we should support them, as with out good coffee in Birmingham, there would be no Coffee Club.”

So, loving this natural association between the indie coffee shops and creativity, Coffee Birmingham are all too delighted to be working with the Coffee Club Collective.

With this in mind, in September we will be running a few very special events with the Collective in the lead up to and on the 29th September itself.

Watch this space for more news imminently.

For more on the Coffee Club Collective visit: or say hello to them on twitter: @wearecoffeeclub




The Spirit of Birmingham Walking Tour, September 29th 2012

On Coffee Birmingham day (September 29th 2012), Midlands Discovery Tours in association with Coffee Birmingham will present  The Spirit of Birmingham.

“Join an expert local Blue Badge tourist guide for a very special walking tour of Birmingham.

The tour is a celebration of Birmingham as a city of creativity, innovation and enterprise, from its earliest days to modern times.

As we walk the streets of the modern city centre and Jewellery Quarter, you will discover how Birmingham has always been a place that has welcomed and encouraged original thinking, and hear stories of some of the men and women who took advantage of that spirit.  Find out how local people’s ideas shaped the world around them, and how independent Birmingham businesses became household names.

But as tour guide Ian Braisby will introduce, it’s not just about the past – we will also explore modern Birmingham’s thriving independent scene and some of the key locations and areas where it can be found.

Covering everything from music, art and literature to industry and, of course, food and drink, this very special tour is an entertaining and informative look at a city that has always lived up to its motto “Forward”.

These events are very popular and offered on a first-come first-served basis so book your place early.

Times and booking details coming soon, but for more information, please contact Midlands Discovery Tours by calling Ian Braisby on:

07970 655 261
or visit

Twitter: @MidsDiscovery
Hashtags: #indielove #coffeebrum






Announcing Coco Meli Bakery as supporter of Coffee Birmingham

We are delighted to announce Coco Meli Artisan Bakery as a supporter of Coffee Birmingham.

We very much concur with their mantra that “Cake is Love”.







Based locally, Coco Meli Bakery bakes cakes, bread and good food to order for delivery or for collection from their bakery, and are a fixture at markets across Birmingham.

Coco Meli supply a number of local good food establishments with patisserie and breads, and their premier corporate clients with scrumptious canapés and mini patisserie for business receptions and exclusive fashion events.





So with all this in mind, we are delighted that they are supported us and we have a bonus …

…those who attend our upcoming #Superjelly on Friday 10th August will have the opportunity to sample some of their savoury and sweet treats, on a first come first served basis.


Follow them on facebook here.
Follow them on twitter: @cocomelibakery

With thanks for Mel for her generosity and enthusiasm, and to Gavin from To Bizzy 2 Bake for enabling this to happen.




Announcing designer John Williamson as a supporter of Coffee Birmingham

We are delighted to be working with John who is responsible for all the Coffee Birmingham branding.
John is Birmingham based graphic designer specialising in all areas of design for print and branding. John works with corporate clients, both large or small companies, and has specialised in designing artwork for bands and venues.
Tim recommended him to do the work for Coffee Birmingham as he does the design work for Tim’s instrumental band Rise.
John is an avid tea drinker (!) and has designed branding for the Cuppa Tee t-shirt company.
John is always looking for interesting new projects so he would love to hear from you.

John can reached at
Visit his website at:

Follow on twitter: @j_s_williamson


What is Jelly?

As you may have noticed on the front page of the website, on August 10th, Coffee Birmingham is uniting with the official Birmingham #Jelly to launch a #Superjelly. Some of you are possibly wondering what a Jelly is. So here are two perspectives from the Superjelly organisers.

First, Coffee Birmingham founder, Tim Wilson explains here in relation to #JellyLincoln, which he also runs on a monthly basis.

Second, here’s a piece from the Enterprise Nation site by official Birmingham Jelly organiser, Rickie Josen which backs up Tim’s comments.

#jelly #superjelly #indielove.




Announcing Midlands Discovery Tours as Supporter

We are delighted to confirm Midlands Discovery Tours as a supporter of Coffee Birmingham. As part of our activities for Saturday 29th September, Midlands Discovery Tours will be running a special tour – more info to come!

Midlands Discovery Tours is a small, independent tour company run by two Blue Badge tourist guides, specialising in providing professional and friendly tours throughout the Midlands.

They operate a range of public walking tours in Birmingham every weekend of the year, with city tours providing a great introduction and themed walks exploring the city in more depth.  They aim to provide both new visitors and lifelong residents with an enjoyable and informative experience of what our city has to offer.

Alongside their public tours, they are available for private bookings for groups of any size and can tailor a tour to any requirements.  They have worked extensively with student groups, community organisations, businesses and individuals and have run Birmingham Ghost Walks for the past three years, which operate twice a month in Birmingham and have expanded to Sutton Coldfield and Warwick, where we run tours every three months.








We are so happy to be working with them because they really help people to discover and enjoy everything that makes Birmingham such a fascinating place, and they see themselves very much (and rightly so) in the role of unofficial ambassadors for the city.






For these and many more reasons, they are an integral part of the independent business community.

With thanks to Ian Braisby for his help.

For more info:



Meeting our Competition Winner

It was great to meet Lucy Whalley, our competition winner yesterday. The prize came courtesy of our hosts for the launch of the Declaration of Independents on Independents Day, Six Eight Kafe, Urban Coffee Company and Saint Caffe. We are also grateful to Peter and Alex from Urban and 6/8 respectively for presenting the prize to Lucy.

In addition to the joyous coffee Lovers prize that you see below, Lucy got a three month subscription to Urban’s Coffee Connoisseurs and some more free coffee and cake courtesy of Six Eight Kafe.