In the world of small business, entrepreneurs and tech professionals, a day of work can be lonely, isolated, and lack that creative spark that keeps you productive and energized.

Not anymore, thanks to an innovative, collaborative work experience called a Jelly, during which otherwise independent workers can spend their day working alongside other entrepreneurs and networking.  While they are working on different projects they bounce ideas off one another, look at problems from new angles, and trade expertise and advice.

Jellies at the DEC

The Dublin Entrepreneurial Center has been hosting Jellies since 2009, after a breakout group at the co/elaborate08 conference suggested the region could benefit from such an environment.

The DEC has taken the concept beyond just a meetup, or co-located individual work.  The DEC opens its doors and resources to the local business community by providing programming designed to support entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Origin of the Jelly

The concept of the Jelly was developed in 2006 by friends Amit Gupta and Luke Crawford in Manhattan.  According to their website, they enjoyed working at home, but they missed the collaboration, camaraderie, and creative brainstorming of a traditional office environment.  So they began to invite other ‘work-at-home’ friends to bring their laptops over and work together.

Since then, these informal events have spread to hundreds of cities, and the concept has been featured by Wired, the New York Post, and NPR, among others.

Come for the lunch, stay for the ‘learn’

The DEC’s is among the longest continuously operating Jellies in the nation.  At each event, lunch is provided by sponsors Buffalo Wild Wings or CiCi’s Pizza, but there’s much more to it.

It’s an opportunity to get free training, discussion, or 1-on-1 coaching in financial planning, legal, and accounting affairs, with local experts scheduling visiting office hours when they are available to mentor business owners.

DEC Jelly programming also provides timely and topical presentations. Recent topics have included guidance for business owners on dealing with the new healthcare law’s employer mandate, navigating changes to tax law, business implications of the fiscal cliff, and even coping with information overload through more productive reading strategies.

Many Jelly participants – whether they are DEC tenants or come from the local business community – use the opportunity to work in the DEC’s café, and to network and collaborate within the thriving entrepreneurial environment.

Upcoming Jellies at the DEC

DEC Jellies are held on the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays of each month, and are open to the public.  For the schedule of upcoming events at the DEC, visit the DEC Events Calendar.

Now for the question you’ve been dying to ask… Where did the name ‘Jelly’ come from?

On a 2009 broadcast of NPR’s Talk of the Nation, Jelly co-founder Gupta explained the origin of the name:  “We were trying to come up with a catchy name. We were sitting around the kitchen table… And there’s a bowl of jelly beans on the table. I wish I had a better story for you.”

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