Military veterans, whether returning home for the first time or adjusting to life back home after several years, are looking to start their own businesses. The need for guidance, mentorship and assistance is great. For these reasons and many more, U.S. Bank is proud to be named the founding partner of Bunker Labs Minneapolis. Bunker Labs is a national nonprofit helping veterans, their spouses and active duty service members start and grow businesses. The organization opened its Minneapolis operations last year.
According to Bunker Labs, 25 percent of active duty personnel have the desire to start a business when they are done serving in the military. However, only six percent of new businesses will be started by military veterans, and disproportionately by older veterans. Through its partnership with Bunker Labs, U.S. Bank will help offer four opportunities for local military members.
"On behalf of our Proud to Serve Team at U.S. Bank, we could not be more proud to help bring Bunker Labs to our headquarters of Minneapolis," said Mike Ott, president of U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management and advisory leader of Proud to Serve, U.S. Bank’s military business resource group. "We are focused on economic development, and that starts by supporting nonprofits like Bunker Labs. Our small business and innovation teams are excited to support our service members through mentorship and resources as they move their business ideas from concepts to reality."
The partnership will kick off November 15 at an event called the 'Pressure Test,' a pitch night for nine veteran-led companies who recently completed the EPIC program. The event will take place at COCO Northeast in Minneapolis. The companies will be judged by business and community leaders and top businesses will be awarded a cash prize.
"Our mission is to help our military service members realize the potential they have to start and operate successful businesses," said Tim O'Neil, Executive Director of Bunker Labs Minneapolis and a Marine veteran. "These men and women have gained extensive knowledge and experience through their service to our country and we know the entrepreneurial potential they all possess. Minneapolis has a strong innovation and start-up community and we can't wait to partner with U.S Bank to make dreams comes true."
U.S. Bancorp, with 73,000 employees and $459 billion in assets as of September 30, 2017, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest bank in the United States. The Minneapolis-based bank blends its branch and ATM network with mobile and online tools that allow customers to bank how, when and where they prefer. U.S. Bank is committed to serving its millions of retail, small business, wealth management, payment, wholesale and securities services customers across the country and around the world as a trusted financial partner, a commitment recognized by the Ethisphere Institute naming the bank a 2017 World's Most Ethical Company. In 2016, U.S. Bank contributed $54.2 million to nonprofit organizations across the country through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate contributions. Additionally, employees donated more than 219,000 volunteer hours creating opportunities at work, home and play across the country. Visit U.S. Bank online or follow on social media to stay up to date with company news.
Bunker Labs is a national not-for- profit organization built by military veteran entrepreneurs to empower other military veterans as leaders in innovation. Through local chapters organized in 13 different cities, Bunker Labs provides educational programming, mentors, events, and thriving local networks to help military veterans start and grow businesses. Bunker Labs works to inspire, educate, and connect veterans with the right people and the right resources to be successful as entrepreneurs and as innovators. Following World War II, roughly 50 percent of returning veterans started a business. Today, approximately 25 percent of post-9/11 veterans state they want to start a business, yet veterans own less than 10 percent of small businesses. Veterans in the Minneapolis region interested in starting or growing small businesses have access to resources, programs, and curriculum at Bunker Labs MPLS that is designed to translate military experience into starting sustainable and scalable businesses.
Susan Beatty, U.S. Bank Public Affairs and Communications