June 9th, at the Bunker Labs Summit in Austin, Texas, our new Ambassador cohort is officially taking the watch. For the next year, 91 service-minded volunteers will put in the work to grow and map their local business ecosystems, assist Bunker Labs entrepreneurs in integrating into that ecosystem, and facilitate our world-class Veterans in Residence Program. You should find your local Ambassador today.
But why should you connect with your ambassador? What can they do for you? Well, it turns out quite a bit, but before we go too deep on what they can provide, let’s take a quick moment to find out who they are.
Ambassador Courtney Zaugg, Indianapolis
The founder of Plaka, Courtney Zaugg is an expert in business ecosystem development, business strategy and management, and business research focused on entrepreneur-led ecosystem development to strengthen local economies. She’s also a military spouse enthusiastic about giving back to the Veteran and military spouse community in her new role as Bunker Labs Ambassador.
Alongside her fellow Indianapolis Ambassadors Chuck Williams and Shawn Gardner, she’ll map the Indianapolis business ecosystem, and help Bunker Labs entrepreneurs navigate it to help launch, grow, and scale their businesses. Together, they’ll also facilitate two cohorts of Bunker Labs’ Veteran in Residence program and put on two major Showcase events to rally the local business ecosystem around Bunker Labs entrepreneurs. Our next National Showcase is June 1st, reserve tickets to your local event now!
And Courtney isn’t alone, there are 91 Bunker Labs Ambassadors working together across the country to do the same thing in 36 cities.
What Can Ambassadors Do For ME?
Bunker Labs Ambassadors wear a lot of hats throughout the year, many of them tied to facilitating Bunker Labs programs and events. But you already knew that, and that happens regardless of if you connect with them. What you might not know is how they can directly help you, your business, or your nonprofit right now. So just ask yourself, what is it you’re trying to do?
Access Local Resources
Ambassadors are constantly mapping the local ecosystem as it relates to entrepreneurship. They serve as expert guides and navigators of your local community’s unique landscape. They know the major players, particularly those friendly to Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs. Let your local Ambassador know what sorts of resources you’re seeking, so they can get you pointed in the right direction, or let you know when those opportunities knock.
Get a Business Referral
No one knows the local business ecosystem like your Ambassador. Do you need a lawyer to look over some paperwork? Need a printer for your latest direct mailing effort? Or maybe you need third party social media marketing and don’t really know who is charging you a fair price. Whatever your business needs, your Ambassador can help. For many services and products common to entrepreneurs and their ventures, your Ambassador probably has someone on speed dial. That someone might even be a Bunker Labs alumni, or a fellow Veteran or military spouse entrepreneur!
Make a Connection
Sometimes, getting your business to the next level is about getting an opportunity to pitch the right person. That person might be an angel investor, a purchaser for a retailer, or a meeting with a government official that organizes bids for contractors. While Ambassadors can’t promise meetings or results, they can help you read the terrain, figure out who specifically you should be trying to meet with, and get a gameplan together to make that happen.
Are You Trying to Join a Bunker Labs Program?
Bunker Labs has a lot of great programs and courses, and your Ambassador can help you figure out which would benefit you the most right now. They can also answer any questions you might have about what to expect. Ambassadors can also help you optimize your application for Veterans in Residence or CEOcircle, helping you understand the criteria we use to evaluate candidates.
Access Educational Resources
If you’re launching your first venture, odds are you don’t even know what you don’t know. Ambassadors know about educational resources serving Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs that range from college programs to book recommendations. They also know about online resources, like Bunker Labs’ Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship, Launch Lab Online, and more. Your Ambassador might even know about local workshops or talks that give you the chance to learn exactly what you need directly from experts.
Attend Community Events
Bunker Labs Ambassadors organize two Showcase events per year, as well as several Bunker Connects, Roundtables, and partnership events that you can attend. Ambassadors are always on the lookout for local business leaders, potential investors, partners, mentors, and even customers to attend community events, too! So be sure to let them know you want to be on their invite lists if you’re someone who wants to support local Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs!
Does your business provide a key product or service that entrepreneurs need? Many entrepreneurs hire third parties to handle legal, marketing, administrative, IT, and several other business functions. They also have common needs for office supplies and other retail goods. If you happen to run a business that provides something you think entrepreneurs would benefit from, you should reach out to your local Ambassador, so they can add you to their ecosystem map. You might even talk with them about offering a special discount code or free consultation for Bunker Labs entrepreneurs!
Capital Access Opportunities
Both locally and nationally, there are constantly opportunities to get in front of investors to pitch, or apply for grants. Your local Ambassador keeps their ear to the ground about opportunities to raise capital, and knows about a number of programs and when they open for applications. If you’re doing a round of fundraising, Ambassadors can help you fill your calendar with opportunities, and point you toward some educational resources for preparing your pitch or application.
And So Much More
For all these reasons and so many more, you should identify your local Ambassadors and introduce yourself today! And if reading this has you feeling like you’d make a great Bunker Labs Ambassador, we’d encourage you to learn more about the program and fill out an interest form, so we can contact you when we’re taking applications for our next cohort!