The Ambassador Program is a new Bunker Labs effort to cultivate leaders within local business ecosystems across the country. Think you have what it takes to grow and lead your local business community? Learn more and apply today.
What is the Ambassador Program?
The Ambassador Program is a 12-month program for volunteers looking to help local Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. The Ambassadors serve as Bunker Labs’ “boots on the ground”, there to help facilitate their local Veterans in Residence program, and develop and connect the local entrepreneur ecosystem.
Didn’t We Have Something Like This Already?
City Leaders used to perform some of the duties now handled by Ambassadors. However, Ambassadors have a more focused scope of operations, along with more tools, training, and support from Bunker Labs. While similar to City Leaders in some ways, our Ambassadors approach ecosystem development from a different perspective and have a more structured period of service.
What do Ambassadors Do?
Ambassadors are leaders for Bunker Labs programs and events in a specific geographic area. Ambassadors aren’t alone, though. There might be as many as three Ambassadors sharing the duties for a single city or state. While there are many tasks Ambassadors perform throughout their 12-month tour, there are two categories most efforts fall within.
Veterans in Residence Facilitators
Veterans in Residence (ViR) is one of Bunker Labs’ flagship programs, and we rely on Ambassadors to lead monthly program meetings and discussions. ViR operates on a 6-month cohort model, and at the end of each cohort, there is a capstone showcase event hosted by local Ambassadors. This showcase is a major event that happens simultaneously in cohorts across the country, welcoming graduating entrepreneurs to the local business community, and introducing the ecosystem to the new incoming cohort.
Ambassadors also serve as a local point of contact for Bunker Labs. They are sometimes a budding entrepreneur’s first contact with Bunker Labs, and Ambassadors are equipped to talk to interested entrepreneurs about our programs, workshops, and courses, and point them toward one that best suits their needs. In this way, Ambassadors help keep their local Veterans in Residence cohort thriving.
Ambassadors are also charged with growing and maintaining their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. For a lot of early-stage entrepreneurs, being welcomed into a community of fellow entrepreneurs who can share local experiences is a great help. When that community also creates opportunities for funding, exposure, and industry-specific partnerships, it’s even better.
This means building a rolodex of Veteran and military spouse entrepreneur-friendly investors, event organizers, and utility businesses that can help local Bunker Labs entrepreneurs take their venture to the next level. It also means that you aren’t JUST building a personal contact for yourself, but a relationship that future Bunker Labs Ambassadors can continue to grow. Ecosystem development is about building long-term relationships over time.
Developing a local entrepreneur ecosystem is only the first step, though. The next part is introducing the entrepreneurs of your cohorts to the right parts of that ecosystem at the right time. That means knowing what stages your entrepreneurs’ ventures are in, what they need right now, and who in the ecosystem might fulfill that need. The showcase is also a major opportunity to entice members of the business community mingle and connect with your entrepreneurs.
Why Should I Become an Ambassador?
Becoming an Ambassador means making a real commitment to volunteer a year of servant-leadership to your local entrepreneur community. You don’t necessarily have to be a Veteran or an entrepreneur yourself to be an Ambassador, you just need to have a passion for helping people, a head for business, and enjoy problem-solving.
Ambassadors are, at their core, guides to their local business communities, and the glue that connects Bunker Labs’ cohorts across the country. It’s an opportunity to mentor early-stage entrepreneurs, while also learning and growing alongside them.
Being an Ambassador is a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding work. You’re helping fellow Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs build something for themselves, and you’re growing the local business community for your entire city. It’s an intrinsically rewarding pursuit, but it can also benefit your own current or future ventures.
If you are curious who is in our current cohort, download and scroll through the Lookbook. You can also see who Ambassadors are by cities.
Position Yourself Center Stage
As an Ambassador, you are at the center of your local Veteran entrepreneur community for an entire year. The nature of the work means you’ll become an expert at navigating the geography of your local entrepreneur ecosystem, and you’ll be well-known to many within it.
Networking and making asks on behalf of others for a year will make doing so on behalf of your own ventures afterwards easier. You won’t just be another entrepreneur making an ask, you’ll be someone they’re already familiar with, and have seen at their most selfless. You’ll already have relationships with many people in the business community who have gotten a chance to know you.
In addition to being a master of your local scene, you’ll have access to fellow Ambassadors across the nation. This can give you access to unique partners when your venture hits growth-stage and wants to go regional or national. Getting an introduction from a fellow Ambassador who has a history with a contact is a much better situation than coming in cold from out of town.
You’ll have just spent a year helping the entrepreneurs of two Veterans in Residence cohorts find win-win opportunities with already-established local businesses. All that hard work and effort on their behalf can engender feelings of gratitude that can open doors for you, even years after you’ve retired your Ambassador badge.
Think You Have What It Takes?
Apply or submit you interest form to the Bunker Labs Ambassador program today!