For two years, Bunker Labs’ Transition Podcast has been demystifying the entrepreneurial journey for veterans and military spouses. Thanks to generous support from MetLife Foundation, host “Iron” Mike Steadman is able to reach out to real entrepreneurs and talk about their wins, challenges, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
In honor of Black History Month, we’re looking back at some of Mike’s favorite interviews with Black entrepreneurs and some of our newer Bunker Labs Spotlight features from the past year. Read, listen, and follow these trailblazing entrepreneurs.
Navy Veteran & Bunker Labs National Director of Training and Development
Listen Now: Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship
Renee sits down with “Iron” Mike Steadman to talk about entrepreneurship and Bunker Labs’ Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship, which has been helping veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs from traditionally underserved communities overcome obstacles to success.
Check out the program.
Founder of Veterans Growing America
Host “Iron” Mike Steadman interviews Army Veteran and VIR Alumn, Donnell Johns, Founder of Veterans Growing America, a company that provides a platform for Veteran and Military Spouses to showcase and grow their businesses. By partnering with local, state, and federal organizations, VGA is able conduct local events and marketing programs, to increase engagement with Veteran Business Community.
Learn more about Veterans Growing America.
Army Veteran & Founder and CEO of Black Sands Entertainment
Army Veterans and Shark Tank participant Manuel Godoy discusses the 500k investment he secured on Shark Tank from investors Mark Cuban and Kevin Hart. On the show, he details the challenges of raising venture capital for his comic publishing house, Black Sands Entertainment, why more Black founders need to leverage crowdfunding, and his plan for turning Black Sands Entertainment into a billion-dollar company.
Check out some of Black Sands Entertainment’s comics.
Dr. Paris Love
Army Veteran & Founder of Paris Love Productivity Institute
Army Veteran Dr. Paris Love is an organizational and productivity coach helping overwhelmed professionals break through the barriers keeping them disorganized, disoriented, and dissatisfied with their life, business, and career. Dr. Love opens up about her entrepreneurial journey and why she enjoys helping others declutter their lives.
Book a course or consultation with Dr. Paris Love.
Army Veteran & Founder of IndyGeneUS AI
Former Army combat medic Yusuf Henriques founded IndyGeneUS AI after his twin daughters were diagnosed with a rare eye disease that was resistant to existing treatments because of genetics. He discusses his high-tech block-chain encrypted bio-repository of indigenous and African genetic data for early disease detection, prevention, and drug discovery, and how it has the potential to create a more equitable healthcare system for all.
Learn more about IndyGeneUS AI’s mission.
Navy Veteran & Founder of Bonappe Sweet
Listen Now: Building a Sweet Brand with a Purpose
Navy Veteran Thereasa Black founded Bonappe Sweet to create sweet, tasty, craving-satisfying chocolate without an ounce of guilt. It’s all plant-based, dairy-free, date-sweetened chocolate without all the processed sugars.
Check out Bonapee Sweet’s menu.
Army Veteran and CEO & Author of Think Veterans First
Regina spent 21 years in the Army as a paralegal, and is now the CEO of Think Veterans First, and author of the book of the same name. Think Veterans First is an Ohio-based nonprofit whose mission is to promote, support, and advocate for veterans and veteran-owned businesses.
Join Think Veterans First’s mission.
Nisla Love & Monica Alexander
Army Veteran and Founder of Choose Love Solutions (Nisla Love) &
Coast Guard Veteran and Founder of Balance Body Network (Monica Alexander)
Nisla Love and Monica Alexander share the importance of community in their individual entrepreneurial journeys. Choose Love Solutions helps small business owners with IRS compliance, and Balance Body Network provides a holistic approach to self-care, including meditation, essential oils, and other products that enhance rest, relaxation, and recovery.
Bunker Labs Spotlights & Narratives
In addition to the great business leaders covered on the Transition Podcast, there are many more Black-led companies in the Bunker Labs ecosystem we are excited to draw attention to.
Shauntae E. Lewis
Air Force Veteran & Founder of Grant Life Consulting
Since 2018 Grant Life Consulting has been helping other nonprofits and businesses win grants and funding to grow their organizations. Discover Shauntae’s journey, and learn about he work with a nonprofits fighting to make the world a better place.
Book a grant writing consultation.
Army Veteran & Founder of Sangar Rum
After separating from the Army, Mike traveled to his father’s birthplace in Liberia, visiting the family farm. The country was recovering from a devastating civil war, and Mike saw parallels to his experiences in Iraq. Determined to help, he founded Sangar Rum as a way to put the family farm back to work and energize the local economy.
Find out where to order Sangar Rum.
Military Spouse & Founder of Southern Elegance Candle Company
D’Shawn makes candles that honor her southern heritage and instill a powerful sense of nostalgia with each breath. Her candles are tailored to create an air of warmth and comfort in any space to make it feel like home.
Shop the Southern Elegance Candle Company Catalogue.
About The Transition Podcast
Demystifying Entrepreneurship & Small Business Ownership
“Iron” Mike Steadman interviews veterans and military spouses with businesses and startups from all industries and stages. Listen each week to dive deep into their stories and lessons learned. New episodes drop every Thursday. Sign up for the newsletter and never miss an episode.
“Iron” Mike Steadman the Founder and CEO of IRONBOUND Boxing, a nonprofit that provides free amateur boxing training, entrepreneur education, and employment opportunities for Newark youth & young adults. He also runs IRONBOUND Media, a podcast production company that produces branded podcasts for veteran-owned businesses, and recently released his first book, Black Veteran Entrepreneur: Validate Your Business Model, Build Your Brand, and Step into Greatness.
Mike is a three-time National Collegiate Boxing Champion from the United States Naval Academy and former Marine Corps Infantry Officer, with deployments to Afghanistan and Japan/Philippines. He’s currently a Hoover Veteran Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a public policy think tank promoting the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom.
Support Black Veteran and Military Spouse-owned Businesses
In addition to the featured entrepreneurs presented above, there are dozens of Black-led companies participating in our Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship (BBiE) workshop today that could use your support. Browse the many Black veteran and military spouse-owned businesses that have come through the program, including our most recent graduates in the 22D cohort, and show them some support and patronage.
Representation matters, especially in the entrepreneurial world. Through the power of community and connection, the BBiE workshop aims to help participants shatter society-erected barriers for entrepreneurs of historically underserved communities. Interested in going through the workshop? BBiE is currently accepting interest forms for its 23B cohort.
Bunker Labs is Now Part of IVMF
As of January 2024, Bunker Labs is now a part of Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). In addition to ongoing Bunker Labs programming, we’d encourage you to browse IVMF’s deep wealth of entrepreneurship programming, much of it available virtually or at locations across the country. Find the program to help your business take the next step today!