Bunker Labs is a national non-profit focused on turning veterans’ entrepreneurial dreams into reality. We combine our free education resources, community, and networks with your skills, experiences, and dedication to mission success learned when you or your spouse wore a uniform in service to our country.
Bunker Labs sees in Greater Des Moines what you saw when you came back from wherever your military career sent you: A fast-paced, robust city deep in the heart of this nation with all kinds of potential for growth and development. And this city, like most of America, also has an under-utilized veteran and military spouse demographic.
Now more than ever, we need business owners that re able to react and adapt quicker than competitors. That ability defines the military connected community. Bunker Labs provides the tools to change the story from “Veterans – a Population in Need” to “Veterans – a Powerful Asset.” After World War II, fifty percent of returning veterans started businesses; less than five percent of post-9/11 veterans have. Why?
Veterans need networks. The military does a fantastic job of stripping out the individual when one joins. At the end of service, they also do a great job of sending you on your way – alone. The silence of not finding a unit, a community, or a place to belong can be deafening. Bunker Labs wants to be that unit. We are committed to seeing that every entrepreneur in the military connected community has the network, tools and resources they need to start their own businesses.
For that we also need mentors, advocates, and well-connected individuals willing to assist these budding entrepreneurs. We need more than “thank you for your service” – we need your time. Participate in events highlighting veteran issues. Sit down with a veteran and help create a profit & loss statement. Have a meeting with a military spouse and discuss ways to build an online marketplace. Invite a veteran to a discussion of funding do’s and don’ts.
Bottom line: make a commitment to real positive change in the life of a military connected Iowan. Haven’t they earned it with their sacrifices?
COVID-19 already parked you at home. Logging onto a free, carefully curated, and seriously inspiring training program is one of the easiest tasks to do when you’re already counting the wood planks in your living room floor. Free co-working space for six months with Bunker Labs’ Veterans in Residence program might sound pretty good in these limited cash flow times, too. Companies with proven staying power can also benefit from the CEO Circle program.
Visibility has a tremendous impact on business outcome. Boosting the voices of women, minority, and disabled small business employees is an important part of what Bunker Labs, and our country, is all about.
It’s also a good time to look out for tax incentives designed specifically for veteran entrepreneurs, and all the ways our legislators are building bonuses for individuals ready to get our bruised economy back on track. Our nation is well-poised to make it easier than ever to develop a veteran-led business, hearkening back to the time in our history when so many veteran companies, such as FedEx and Nike, were born.
And to help you on your journey, here are some titles that I highly recommend: