As a lead up to Independence Day, The Bunker, an innovation accelerator for military veteran-led businesses, announced that Comcast has become the first National Corporate Sponsor of The Bunker and the Founding Sponsor of The Bunker’s newest location in Philadelphia. The Bunker, which has locations in seven cities across the country, works to launch and accelerate veteran-led businesses and create forums for entrepreneurial veterans to meet and collaborate.
Built by veteran entrepreneurs for veteran entrepreneurs, The Bunker provides working space, mentors, access to investors, pro-bono services and a community of support to help military veteran-led startup companies grow in today’s competitive market. It was founded in Chicago in 2014 at co-working space 1871, its current headquarters, and in the past year has expanded to six additional cities, including Austin, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Tacoma, Washington, D.C., and today’s launch in Philadelphia.
"We are honored to not only support veterans, but also some of our country’s best and brightest entrepreneurs, through our partnership with The Bunker," said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. "Comcast was a startup 50 years ago, and today we are proud to help develop the next-generation of startups to build great products, grow a diverse workforce, and continue to see existing and new businesses bloom."
The Philadelphia launch event, which took place at Benjamin's Desk, a local co-working space, included several notable speakers, including:
Todd Connor – CEO of The Bunker, Co-Founder of Flank 5 Academy and a U.S. Navy Veteran
Mike Maher – Head of The Bunker Philadelphia, Co-Founder of Benjamin’s Desk and a U.S. Navy Veteran
Jessica Rosenworcel – FCC Commissioner
Alan Greenberger – Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce
David L. Cohen – Senior Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation
Neil Smit – President and Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable and a former Navy SEAL
Six Philadelphia startups have already been selected to participate in The Bunker Philadelphia, and additional companies will be announced in the coming months. The companies include:
Houwzer – a residential real estate brokerage company created by Mike Maher (Navy)
Starchup – a software and mobile application for dry-cleaning created by Dan Tobon (Army)
CauseEngine – a marketplace that matches non-profits and freelancers created by James Brobyn (Marine Corps)
VetsForward – a search platform for finding veteran-owned businesses created by Dave Foster (Army)
Serve1 – a trusted resource to create first-degree resources for veterans created by Chris Diaz (Navy)
GoPaperboy – a hyper-local marketplace to help students build the job they want and families find the help they need created by Jen Gallagher (military spouse and former attorney)
"I have heard from many entrepreneurs who are looking for an organization like The Bunker that can help them in starting and growing a business," said Connor. "Both Mike Maher and I believe that The Bunker Philadelphia will enable local veteran entrepreneurs to realize their dream of owning and running their own business, and ultimately create new jobs for the local economy. Thanks to the support of Comcast, this is a model we will be able to continue to replicate in cities across the U.S."About 200,000 service members leave active duty each year, and a quarter of them express interest in starting their own business. Following World War II, 49 percent of veterans started their own businesses after returning home. However, veterans representing new entrepreneurs have declined from 12 percent in 1996 to just 6 percent in 2011.
"We're excited to help The Bunker accelerate veteran owned-businesses and are honored to work with these talented and dedicated entrepreneurs and startups who are joining Philadelphia's thriving innovation community," said Smit.
Applications for The Bunker Philadelphia and other locations are now online, and veteran-led startup companies based in Philadelphia and in other parts of the country are encouraged to apply at www.BunkerIncubator.com.
Comcast NBCUniversal support veterans in their transition back into the workforce and civilian life through hiring efforts and multiple programs and resources. From January 2012 through March 2015, Comcast NBCUniversal hired approximately 4,200 veterans, and in May 2015, the company committed to hiring an additional 10,000 reservists, veterans and their spouses or domestic partners over the next three years.
About The Bunker:
The Bunker Labs is a national network of military veteran entrepreneurs and innovators whose mission is to "Empower military veterans as leaders in innovation". Headquartered in Chicago and founded in June 2014, The Bunker has chapters in 8 other markets with more planned. The Bunker Labs provides immersive entrepreneurship training, professional networks, co-working space, transition programs for separating service members, and advocates on behalf of military veteran entrepreneurs. Visit www.BunkerIncubator.com to learn more, apply to join, or become a partner.
About Comcast Corporation:
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is the nation's largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.