Bunker Labs created the Veterans in Residence Program to help veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs across the country better access the capital, networks, contacts, and opportunities first-time entrepreneurs need for success. Are you ready to grow your business? Learn more and apply today.
What is the Veterans in Residence Program?
Veterans in Residence (ViR) is a professionally facilitated, 16-week business incubator that provides veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs with resources to help grow their business, subject matter experts to increase their business skills, and a networking community to support their business as they grow.
In collaboration with Bunker Labs Ambassadors and American Business Mission partners, ViR programming encourages, develops, and strengthens the local entrepreneur community, as well as access to resources and opportunities. The ViR Program also facilitates national connections with other entrepreneurs, resources, and professional networks.
What’s Changed Since Last Year?
We took a close look at the ViR program, participant surveys, and business outcomes to shape a business incubator program that is relevant, effective, and efficient. We’ve moved to a 16-week program model that focuses on the most common obstacles and challenges promising business owners face. In addition, we’re moving to professional facilitators to ensure a consistent, quality experience for cohort members across the nation. Weekly virtual huddles have expanded from just local meetings to include all cohort members across the country, expanding opportunities for networking and programming around subjects beyond geography. Our Bunker Labs Ambassadors will remain very involved with ViR cohorts, providing local connections, referrals, and access to resources and opportunities.
With consistency of experience also comes a consistency in scheduling. Moving forward with cohort 24A, the weekly 90-minute virtual huddles occur Tuesday afternoons at 4 pm EST/3 PM Central, something participants should consider against their availability before applying. The huddles include breakouts with their facilitator and participants in their geographic region, workshops with subject matter experts delivering important insights into business challenges like branding, hiring, marketing, and other growth issues, and huddles where similarly staged businesses connect and share solutions, connections, and opportunities.
What do Program Participants Do?
Each ViR cohort consists of 10-12 veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs building or growing their business. ViR cohort members attend weekly virtual huddles with a rotating focus alongside cohorts across the nation. The rotating focus cadence is as follows:
- Week #1: Critical Question – Peer-to-peer collaboration surrounding challenges the members are facing in their business.
- Week #2: Tactical Tuesdays – a workshop on a subject relevant to the participants’ needs as reported on their applications.
- Week #3: Deep Dive – A comprehensive look at a business function or topic to discover solutions, resources, and opportunities.
- Week #4: Revenue-based huddles to provide like-minded entrepreneurs an opportunity to discuss common challenges in that business stage.
In addition, participants meet one-on-one with their facilitator to discuss pressing issues and connect to needed resources. The Bunker Labs Ambassadors play a key role in sourcing those connections and resources for the participants. At the end of the program, participants celebrate their growth at the Veterans in Residence Showcase, where they can pitch their business and make an ask of the local business community in attendance.
Who are the Facilitators?
ViR Facilitators are contracted business professionals, trainers, teachers, and experienced entrepreneurs that lead the weekly huddles for each cohort. They also engage in regular one-on-one discussion with participants about their goals, and work with Ambassadors to create opportunities, connections, and access to resources to help participants find success. While the ViR creates national connections amongst the participants in all cohorts, the Facilitator and Ambassador work together to establish or enable local connections with other cohort members, local/regional experts, and resources the cohort members request.
Expand Your Network to Expand Your Business
Our goal at Bunker Labs is to provide national connections to create local impact. With more than 300 people participating in each cohort, participants have an opportunity to tap into local and national networks to exponentially expand their access to resources, tools, and opportunities that go unseen to those building their business alone.
Develop Business Skills for Success
The ViR program is tailored to the needs represented on the participants’ applications. Developed by experienced entrepreneurs, the monthly theme, workshop topics, and supporting events presented on Bunker Online work in tandem to bring a holistic understanding of those challenges and potential solutions, connections, and resources. ViR participants leave the program with new business knowledge, actionable steps to grow their business, and case study solutions from other veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs who have been where you are and can help you grow faster.