South West Jelly CIC continues virtually during coronavirus pandemic.
All kinds of small East Devon businesses have benefitted from taking part in Jellys, where they have a chance to join others, discuss their ideas, gain support and advice.
Jellys are informal co-working community events where pre-starts, start-ups, freelancers, homeworkers and small/micro business owners bring their laptops and work, chat and collaborate with other small business owners.
Co-working means meeting up with like-minded people to work together in a different environment, to exchange help and advice, and maybe come up with a new idea to collaborate on. At most Jelly South West events there is a free workshop or speaker and often collaboration with other like minded groups or CICs (community interest companies).
Louise Turley, Jelly South West CIC, explains:
Jellys differ from networking in that the aim is not to ultimately to find new clients or to just sell yourself or your business. The Jellys help build a cohesive local economy in a soft informal manner, especially in rural areas within Devon where there is a strong number of small/micro businesses who work from home. The Jellys offer a community support group structure and the ethos of Jelly is to be accessible to all.
Jelly South West CIC was born from just one Jelly in Honiton every month 3 years ago. Over time, Jelly South West has grown to meet demand at now 7 different places every month.
With the Covid 19 crisis, the in-person Jellys had to stop. I was quick to act and cancel the events throughout Devon. I decided to shift them to a virtual platform and the Virtual Jelly was born. Once a week, on a Wednesday at 1pm we ‘zoom’ in, with a speaker each week offering help and advice. I have continued to offer support, with anyone able to contact me directly for advice or their mental well-being.
The response to the virtual Jellys has been fantastic with much positivity. We've gained a new audience who are grateful for the informal weekly check in. It's a place to chat and remove the isolation factor that people feel working from home even with children running around them. It has become a place of support for many. I send out weekly newsletters about the Jellys and up to date information regarding help available from various sources.
Personally I enjoy the Jellys as much everyone else -- it helps me to remain focussed and continue to support the businesses I have built a relationship with over the years, whilst increasing my knowledge from the weekly talks.
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