Calling all Servant Leaders
Building Business Ecosystems
The Ambassador Program unites entrepreneurial servant leaders across the country in a mission to build and build up local business ecosystems. The 12-month program trains and supports already well-positioned and established leaders as they engineer more friendly business environments for veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, and connect them with key entrepreneurial resources.
Our Ambassadors know the lay of the local business landscape, have an innate talent for networking, and a passion for helping veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Over the course of a year, host local Bunker Labs business networking events, and network with their local Veterans in Residence cohort to get Bunker Labs entrepreneurs connected to the people and resources that can take their business to the next level. They also complete an Ecosystem Leadership Project (ELP) that makes a real and lasting change for the better to their local business environment.
- Servant Leader Mindset: Our Ambassadors prioritize the needs of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, working to help them grow not just individually, but to put in the work to make it easier for them to find success.
- Strong Commitment: Ambassadors demonstrate the strongest commitment, putting in approximately five hours of effort per week over the year of the program, and also attending three fly-in events for training and problem-solving.
- Resourceful Leadership: Our Ambassadors know how to lead and problem-solve with the resources at hand, and most have leadership experience during time in the military, running their own company, or working at a nonprofit.
- Well-Positioned: Our Ambassadors know the people and resources available to help local entrepreneurs, and how to access them.
Why Become an Ambassador?
The biggest reason to become an Ambassador is because you’re a service-minded leader with access to critical entrepreneurial resources and networks, and you want to share them. However, becoming an Ambassador also positions you at the confluence of veterans, military spouses, and entrepreneurship in your ecosystem.
Further, if you’re part of an entrepreneurial service organization (ESO), or run an organization that serves other businesses, then access to your local Bunker Labs entrepreneurial community can empower you to serve even more people through your ESO or business. Key ecosystem partners make fantastic Ambassadors, and can benefit from a broader view of the local entrepreneurial landscape.
Ecosystem Leadership Project (ELP)
When you become an Ambassador, you’re a steward and caretaker of your local entrepreneurial environment. The Ecosystem Leadership Project (ELP) is a tangible effort each of our Ambassadors dream up to make the local business community more accessible for veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and small business owners.
An ELP can take many forms. Ambassadors might plan and execute a networking event that gives veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs an opportunity to meet with investors or mentors. Other Ambassadors might curate a comprehensive ecosystem map of local resources. Many will create their own project in a way that marries their own skills and knowledge with the needs of local veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Regardless of what the specific ELP is, they all make a lasting change to the accessibility of entrepreneurial resources for local veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs.
Volunteers passionate about creating a more opportunity-filled business environment for veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and small business owners.
A volunteer ecosystem building and development corps working together to create tangible ecosystem growth in their local business environment.
Three fly-in events filled with ecosystem development training, as well as participation in monthly local or virtual huddles, and hosting Bunker Connects and Showcase events to help Bunker Labs entrepreneurs network with the local ecosystem.
The mandatory 2024 fly-in events are scheduled for the weeks of Jan 24-26 (Austin, TX), Apr 24-26 (Washington DC), and Aug 14-16 (Syracuse, NY), there are also monthly in-person or virtual huddles (depending on your location).
Supercharge your own network and put it to good use serving veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs looking to access key contacts and resources to launch and grow their businesses.
What I find most exciting about being involved with Bunker Labs is reconnecting with fellow veterans and other people who have similar experiences. It’s something I’ve missed dearly since checking out of the military.
Joining the Ambassador Program is a chance to make a real difference in the lives of veterans and military spouses. Local Ambassadors play a huge role in and helping them actualize their American dreams of entrepreneurship and small business ownership by fostering a more friendly business ecosystem, and working to expand their access to resources and networks.
The Ambassador Program is your chance to be the person who makes that key introduction or points a Bunker Labs entrepreneur to that critical resource that changes their life and the trajectory of their business. Early-stage founders can get caught up in their day-to-day operations that they miss big picture opportunities sitting right next to them. As an Ambassador, your ability to raise awareness about those opportunities and make those introductions is an invaluable part of their journey, and one they’ll never forget.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who is eligible to participate?
Anyone with a passion for helping veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs is eligible to apply. However, the best candidates will also be well-positioned within the local business ecosystem to help veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, or have unique access to a network or resource that can help them launch and grow their companies.
Do you have to be an existing member of the Bunker Labs community to apply?
Prior Bunker Labs participation or engagement is not required, but we hold those already engaged with our community in high regard.
What kind of commitment does the program require?
5 hours per week on average. This is a volunteer position and may require some evening and weekend work to attend community events. The Ambassador will need to have access to their own transportation to travel to various events and meetings. Physical Requirements: The Ambassador will be required to stand or sit for extended periods and may need to lift or move light objects during event setup.
Which cities have the program?
Bunker Labs is always looking to expand to different cities, and Ambassadors are an important first step to developing the local ecosystem to support veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Cities with an active Veterans in Residence cohort will take precedence, but if you think your city is ready, apply to be an Ambassador today, and let’s start developing the local community together!
Does Bunker Labs make investments in Ambassador cohort businesses?
Do I need to be a military veteran to apply?
No, you don’t necessarily have to be a veteran to be an Ambassador, you just need to have a passion for helping people and enjoy networking and problem-solving. Applicants should self-identify as servant leaders who are dedicated to supporting the veteran and military spouse entrepreneur community. This means they should prioritize the needs of others, aim to enhance the growth and well-being of community members, and work towards building a more collaborative network that is locally thriving and nationally connected.
I was rejected from the program in the past. Can I apply again?
What are the criteria of competitive candidates?
- The best candidates will be dedicated servant leaders that are well-positioned within the local business ecosystem to help veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs, or have unique access to a network or resource that can help Bunker Labs entrepreneurs launch and grow their companies.
However, Bunker Labs is also looking for candidates with:
- Strong leadership and communication skills.
- Demonstrated experience in networking and ecosystem building.
- Knowledge of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and relevant resources.
- Passionate about supporting military-connected entrepreneurs.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Ability to commit to the volunteer role for at least 12 months.
- Willingness to participate in Bunker Labs Ambassador training.
- Availability to attend and host one monthly ViR huddle, host one Bunker Connect and one ViR Showcase per cohort.
- Skilled at making referrals that can benefit both parties and lead to positive outcomes.
- Skilled at identifying opportunities and engaging with key stakeholders in the industry or community to build partnerships or networks.
- Degree or certificate work in business, entrepreneurship, economic development, marketing, communications, public administration, nonprofit management, and ecosystem building.
- Experience in organizing and hosting events.
- Familiarity with the needs and challenges faced by military-connected entrepreneurs.
- Experience in entrepreneurship or startup development.
- Active in the local veteran or entrepreneur community.
- Veteran or military spouse a plus, but not required.
What’s in it for me?
- An opportunity to be of service to veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs trying to realize their American Dream.
- Access to a vibrant community that offers a strong sense of camaraderie and community amongst veteran and military spouses
- Supercharge your network while connecting up-and-coming Bunker Labs entrepreneurs with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
- Access to Bunker Labs entrepreneurs, who might have an interest in your using your company or organization’s entrepreneurial support services.
- Recognition as a local leader driving economic development.
- 3 fully covered in-person fly-in training events that teach skills like ecosystem development, networking, and mentorship.
Is travel involved?
Yes. Bunker Labs will cover your travel expenses for the Ambassador Program’s three fly-in training events.
The next cohort doesn’t start for months, what can I do in the meantime?
- Engage with the community on Bunker Online.
- Reach out to the current Ambassadors in your city, if any, and attend any Bunker Connect or Showcase events in your area.
This program is made possible in part by USAA, PWC Charitable Foundation, MetLife Foundation, Ford, Boeing