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Trailblazers In Residence

BasBlue Offers Social Space for Women to Collaborate and Thrive

By James Martinez

When Nancy Tellem came to Detroit from Los Angeles seven years ago, she was impressed by the extraordinary women in the region. From chief executive officers to mothers to entrepreneurs she saw a large group committed to moving the city forward, but with one thing missing.

“As an outsider, I noticed that despite having all these amazing women in the community many really didn’t know each other, and there really wasn’t a space that would be the catalyst for them to come and get to know each other,” Tellem said.

And thus, BasBlue was born, a nonprofit space dedicated to fostering a diverse, authentic and inclusive community for women and non-binary individuals designed to provide support and mentorship. The goal is to bring together a diverse group of individuals whether they’re established in their careers and business ownership or looking to launch an entrepreneurial venture.

A historic mansion in Midtown Detroit converted into a social club, BasBlue offers shared work spaces, leadership and education programming, and creates connections through mentoring and networking that provide tremendous opportunities for professional and personal growth.

“I felt that we really needed a space that was designed and created by women for women. And it would be a safe and welcoming space,” Tellem added, noting that membership has grown to more than 600 in just over six months since opening.

BasBlue also offers a Trailblazer-In-Residence scholarship program, which awards up to 100 annual memberships to women who are developing businesses and creating unique tools that benefit the community.

It also has a program, Founders + Fund(Her), to help women better access venture capital funding, a major equity obstacle for many to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to fruition. The program brings together early-stage female founders to raise capital and gain exposure while connecting them to funders looking to advise, invest, and support them.

James Martinez is editor of the Detroit magazine and a content creation consultant in Southeast Michigan


“I felt that we really needed a space that was designed and created by women for women, that would be a safe and welcoming space.”
-Nancy Tellem, Executive Chair, Eko; Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BasBlue