Within a city on the rise, Bamboo Detroit builds flexible work spaces and a community for the city’s most creative.
A team of entrepreneurs “on a mission to bring access to inspire growth in the world” founded Bamboo Detroit in 2013 offering the community free and low-cost events for those just starting.
Amanda Lewan, co-founder of Bamboo Detroit and Wayne State alumna, described it as a place for space, services and support to help others on their journey.
“We are a community of people working together in the heart of downtown Detroit,” Lewan said. “Bamboo Detroit is a physical shared office space for creatives and entrepreneurs.
After receiving her Masters in English from WSU, Lewan said it only took a few months before Bamboo grew.
“We opened our first space downtown at 1424 Brush Street, about 3,000 square feet, and built up the community around us,” Lewan said. “Then, due to growth and demand for more private options, we moved over to a brand-new facility at 1420 Washington Blvd. It’s been a lot of fun growing with the community and fostering a place for startups and creativity.”
Bamboo Detroit’s members launch new technologies, create better food products and showcase art internationally, all while inspiring those around them.
“Both JOURNi and Jennifer joined Bamboo recently,” Lewan said. “Jennifer joined us last year when she first stepped out on her own. Now, she has a dedicated desk and has become a resource and company of choice for Bamboo members.”
Catalyst Media Factory, founded by Jennifer Foster, works to secure interviews in news media.
“Often, they need help telling their story to the media and Jennifer has been extremely vital for them,” Lewan said. “She's recently hired an intern and grown her accounts.”
Foster said she found Bamboo Detroit appealing to her and her business.
“Bamboo seemed the right mixture of a fun, relaxed culture melded with a professional and diverse group of thinkers and doers,” Foster said. “I just felt my new colleagues and I could feed off one another’s energy.”
Foster said her business serves to provide reliable information sources to members of the news media ensuring that they have accurate and knowledgeable sources for news articles and broadcasts. Catalyst Media Factory then leverages the news content through social channels.
Brian McKinney, co-founder of JOURNi and one of the newest members of Bamboo Detroit, said he liked Lewan’s mission for the community.
“Even before I ever met the founders of Bamboo Detroit, I regularly heard the buzz about the cowering startup,” McKinney said. “I met Bamboo Detroit co-founder Amanda Lewan during startup Next Detroit's mentor session. She was a very engaging mentor and I really dug her mission for Detroit's co-working space community.”
Lewan said McKinney’s non-profit was a “great fit” for the city and pictures JOURNi as an investment in Detroit.
“We imagine graduates of the JOURNi program could stay and work on their own projects at Bamboo or easily find work,” Lewan said. “Especially with tech skills high in demand from our growing startup companies.”
In agreement, both McKinney and Foster said they have made some great connections and business relationships due to Bamboo and Lewan encourages students, specifically from WSU, to apply.
“We've recently hired an engineering student as a part time manager of the space,” Lewan said. “We encourage students to apply for jobs and internships at Bamboo's companies. We hope to see students connected to the activity Downtown.”
For more information visit bamboodetroit.com