You've heard it a thousand times: experience trumps skill. And while un-molded talent can innovate new technologies with ease, veteran entrepreneurs know the importance of discipline when it comes to making a startup successful. Fortunately, Bunker Labs and JPMorgan have recognized experience as a necessity in building a sustainable startup ecosystem by making their most recent investment.
In conjunction with National Small Business Week and Columbus Startup Week, JPMorgan Chase announced a two-year, $1.5 million commitment to Bunker Labs, a non-profit organization that supports early stage startups that are owned by veteran entrepreneurs. This new grant will allow Bunker Labs to launch their Bunker Builds America Tour, which will see a series of events hitting 10 cities across the US. The goal of the tour is to showcase veteran entrepreneurs and their companies for investors and customers alike.
“The military prepares service members to lead through uncertainty, make tough decisions, and persevere – all qualities that lead to success in small business. Bolstering that success is part of our mission at JPMorgan Chase” said Jennifer Piepszak, CEO of Chase Business Banking. “That is why we are proud to support the Bunker Builds America Tour, which will serve Veteran entrepreneurs across the country as they start and grow businesses in their communities.”
Bunker Labs has a long history of promoting veteran entrepreneurs in various startup ecosystems around the world. The program was launched by a Navy veteran by the name of Todd Connor. His aim for the company was to provide training, workspaces, access to investors, mentorship and peer learning opportunities to the post-service population in order to promote their well-being and utilize their unique, military business skills.
The data is quite favorable for this move by JPMorgan Chase and Bunker Labs. In the wake of World War II, 50 percent of veterans started a company. Now, only 10 percent of veterans are the hard-working owners of businesses around the country, while 25 percent hope to do so one day. Bunker Labs has been doing their best to make sure they feel supported in these leadership roles. And it seems to be working.
“Since launch, we’ve been able to help our member businesses raise more than $16 million in early funding, create nearly 140 jobs, and generate nearly $6 million in revenue. We know we have a model that works, and now we’re ready to do more,” said Todd Connor, CEO of Bunker Labs. “Together with JPMorgan Chase, we are packing up and hitting the road to catalyze that next greatest generation of military-trained entrepreneurs.”
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