Bunker Labs Nashville Celebrates A Successful Muster

Blake....bunker Nashville cofounder in back.

Governor Bill Haslam at the podium and Blake Hogan, founder and executive director of Bunker Labs Nashville (background).

Many people dream of being business owners, but the most successful entrepreneurs have a network of mentors and support to help them overcome challenges that face any start-up organization.
With local operations housed in the Nashville Entrepreneur CenterBunker Labs is “a nationwide network of startup incubators that provide funding, guidance and networking opportunities for veterans who want to start their own companies.”

With a diverse and talented group of veterans transitioning to civilian life, it’s not surprising many aspire to own their own businesses. Of 200,000 service members coming off of active duty each year over the next five years, Bunker Labs estimates 25% of them want to become entrepreneurs.

Having experienced the welcoming and supportive mentorship of Nashville leaders, I enjoy helping business owners and entrepreneurs, and I was excited to attend Bunker Lab’s special event last week in Nashville. The Nashville Muster invited participants and partners for a day-long series of events, including veteran entrepreneurs pitching their businesses. The day also featured an Idea Lab and a marketplace to purchase products from veteran-owned small businesses.

The event showcased Bunker Labs’ goals of providing resources for the newest generation of veterans who wish to start businesses. Blake Hogan, founder and executive director of Bunker Labs Nashville, thanked corporate sponsors Comcast and JPMorgan Chase. Their contributions have allowed Bunker Labs an opportunity to expand to 12 cities so far. Hogan noted the organization’s mission is to be deliberate in helping today’s veterans achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

CEO Todd Conner, a Navy veteran, explained that the non-profit helps connect veteran entrepreneurs with bankers, lawyers, coders and others who can help them bring business ideas to fruition.

Governor Bill Haslam noted that 10% of Tennessee’s population is veterans, an impressive number. He went on to point out that many of the state’s business owners are veterans, including his own family members. His father, a veteran, started his business by purchasing a small gas station, and now employs almost 20,000 people.

Senator Mark Green

Senator Mark Green

Senator Mark Green, a veteran who interrogated Saddam Hussein for six hours following his capture, founded and serves as CEO of Align MD, a hospital staffing company with corporate offices in Clarksville. He also gave Bunker Labs Nashville a generous check for $50,000.

Other notable speakers included: Mayor Megan Barry, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd and Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder.

Learn more about Bunker Labs in Nashville.



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