Community plays an important role in many industries, but is especially beneficial for startup founders. EntryPoint guest blogger, Amanda Lewan, Co-Founder and CEO of Bamboo Detroit, recognized the opportunity to build a founder-focused community. As featured in the 2020 Detroit Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report, she discusses the importance of building a network of founders and how Bamboo helps.
Guest Post by Amanda Lewan, Co-Founder & CEO, Bamboo
As I write this, I am at my home office, which is quite different from the busy co-working space we have set up at Bamboo. The Coronavirus has recently spread and Michigan is currently hunkered down.
When we face uncertainty we are reminded to find and value our community. Startups are familiar with extreme uncertainty. From the day an idea is born we face many obstacles. What helps us best navigate these extremes? I believe it’s having a network of other founders to talk to. Founders and CEOs deeply understand the challenge of building and scaling a company. These are some of the best networks of support for an early stage startup to access.
In Detroit, our work at Bamboo has always been to build community. Our co-working company began between four founders who wanted a welcoming and diverse place to work on new ideas. It was this authenticity that resonated with others, but also gave us insight into curating speakers, programs, and connections to build a network. Since those early days, we’ve continued to expand our spaces and our network to help more founders thrive.
All ecosystems can benefit from building a greater founder-focused community together. What does this really provide for a startup founder? A network provides space for peer support, mentorship, and experience sharing. By cultivating a culture of giving back, founders share each other’s experiences over coffee or phone calls. Not all advice is helpful, but experience shared by another founder or CEO often is. Only another founder can really understand the pain of fundraising against a clock, the joy of selling or launching, and the difficult decisions on exits and acquisitions.
To build a network, we do this mostly through storytelling and making intentional connections, such as sharing uplifting, diverse stories through content and events as well as connecting founders to other founders and to potential investors and mentors. These connections can go a long way. We then also take our founders into account as we continue to evolve what our services look like, whether through programming or virtual spaces each year.
I’m excited for what Michigan’s growing ecosystem has to offer and share. There is no better place to find hardworking talent, developing historic spaces, and a public and private sector working together. It’s up to us to keep building networks of support to help those doing the hard and uncertain work, the brave work, of building great companies.
Visit http://www.bamboodetroit.com to learn more about Bamboo.
Read more in the 2020 Detroit Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Report