Bunker Labs, which is based in Chicago, is expanding to the Triangle with its newest outpost officially opening today at The Frontier in Durham. WTW has an exclusive Q&A with the CEO of Bunker about why RTP is on his list.

The goal is to help veterans launch and grow new ventures. It’s also a part of RTP CEO Bob Geolas’ economic development strategy for the Park.

The Bunker Labs mission:

“We are a program built by veteran entrepreneurs—for veteran entrepreneurs.

“The Bunker targets existing veteran owned tech startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to come, create, and conquer the business world through their ideas, hard work, and strategy.”

Today’s event kicks off at 1 p.m.

Bunker Labs is the latest in a series of startup hubs and accelerators in the Triangle, joining HQ Raleigh, American Underground, the Citrix program, and several others.

Our Q&A:

  • Why pick RTP for expansion?

Leadership, and the whole team at RTP, understands the value that veterans bring to a community. They felt The Frontier was the perfect ecosystem to support startup businesses and veteran entrepreneurs.

Because RTP is home to more than 200 companies and has such great relationships with area universities, this location was a great fit.

  • What will you offer entrepreneurs/startups?

The Bunker brings a range of programming and support to military veterans that are in the process of starting businesses.

We have a robust model that includes mentorship, connecting entrepreneurs to investors and with other people and resources that can help take their businesses to the next level.

The Bunker chapter in RTP will also be an access point for military veterans and organizations nationally – so, we’re building a national network that this new chapter will plug into in order to access national people and resources.

That road goes both ways, too – the new RTP chapter will allow Bunker’s seven other cities to tap into the resources RTP provides as well.

  • Why target veteran entrepreneurs?

Participants are all former military.

After WWII, 49% of military veterans came back and started or operated business at home. It is very much in the DNA and the legacy of military veterans to start businesses and be innovators. Bunker Labs is bringing that forward for this generation’s returning military veterans to start and grow businesses.

Twenty-five percent of military service members express a desire to start a business and to be and entrepreneur. In reality, only 6 percent will do so which leads us to believe that there’s an opportunity to increase that number. Organizations and communities like the Bunker can help make this happen.