A business school graduate is one of the University's 'Alumni of the Year'

If you have graduated in the last few years, there’s a good chance that you’ll have heard of The Beans Group.

james-ederFounded in 2005 by James Eder and his brother Michael, Student Beans is a popular website in student circles. It offers discounts, freebies and advice to students in their millions, works with some of the biggest brands in the world, and has its roots at Birmingham.

With a focus on understanding what young people want, the company became The Beans Group and has seen a number of successes, including winning Digital Business of the Year in 2013.

James said: "As we approach 10 years as a business, we are continuing to expand and evolve both in the UK and globally. Student Beans continues to house everything related to student offers and discounts, whilst the business now also encompasses Hexjam, a leading lifestyle website for 16-24s, and youth insights consultancy, Voxburner. We're expanding our offering globally as we continue to grow in all fronts and that's really going to be the focus in the months ahead."

In 2014, The Beans Group also returned to its Birmingham roots, opening a new office in Digbeth’s Custard Factory as well as maintaining its London base.

It was an exciting and meaningful milestone to return to Birmingham and open our new office in The Custard Factory. Birmingham is where Student Beans started back in 2005 where we laid our foundations. We’re very familiar with the city, its vibrant youth culture and the great things it can offer. One of the biggest challenges when I graduated was finding a job, but instead I created one. Now as we continue to recruit and grow the team, we hope to give back to the local community that was so influential at the beginning of our journey. As a Founder, it’s a brilliant feeling to support the local economy that supported us when we began."

James has been in demand as an adviser in entrepreneurship, speaking at the Conservative party conference, discussing the future of enterprise at 10 Downing Street and presenting at the UNESCO-UNEVOC Global Forum in Germany. He also has a range of other new projects in development.

Last year I founded Kentish Cluster, an initiative bringing local businesses and the community together in Kentish Town, North London, where our head office is located. We run monthly events and regularly have over 100 people attending. There’s also FriendlyFriday.org, a movement to get the world talking and a non-for-profit that supports and invests back into young people. There’s lots more to come on both those fronts over the coming months."

Throughout his successes, James has generously given his time back to the University , regularly sharing his advice and inspiring a new generation of students.

He said: "It was such an honour to find out I'd been awarded Young Alumnus of the year. My time in Birmingham and at the university in particular was an amazing few years and hugely influential in providing the foundations to graduate and set up a business alongside my brother Michael. Student Beans has its roots firmly in Birmingham, it was the start of our journey to where we are today. It's great to be acknowledged and rewarded independently for the work we've done over the last decade."

James will receive his Alumnus of the Year award at a graduation ceremony in July.

Further information

  • Follow James: @jameseder
  • Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/jameseder
  • Find out more about Friendly Friday: @friendlyfriday
  • The Beans Group
  • Our previous Alumni of the Year winners