“Being an entrepreneur and being a veteran are very similar. Everyone thinks it’s really cool when you tell them what you do, but there’s no way in hell they would do it themselves.”
With that analogy, the packed house of veterans and entrepreneurs chuckled and voiced agreement with Dan Tobon, COO and Co-Founder of Starchup, a Chicago-based startup and member of the inaugural cohort of The Bunker Philadelphia.
If you haven’t heard of The Bunker, we had an opportunity to speak with founder Todd Conner last month about the incredible efforts they’ve been making in Chicago to help network local entrepreneurial veterans. Today that network expanded nationally with the announcement of The Bunker Philadelphia getting its start at Benjamin’s Desk, a local co-working space and innovation accelerator.
The Bunker’s formation at 1871 and expansion into Benjamin’s Desk underscores the vital role that technology co-working spaces play in foster innovative, creative communities. The formal and informal networks, the internet access provided by Comcast Business and the continuous inspiration provided by ambitious peers make these facilities center for innovation.
“The idea for the Bunker was to have a place built by veterans who have started companies to help other veterans start companies. That very simple premise has brought us here today to Philadelphia,” says Todd Conner, CEO of The Bunker and Co-Founder of Flank 5 Academy.
The national partnership with Comcast will empower veteran entrepreneurs to access a global network of veteran-owned startup companies and mentors, as well as the business support and Comcast infrastructure they need to make their innovative business ventures succeed. The expansion in the city of Philadelphia – and soon other cities – brings new energy to the city’s start up culture and resource base.
“We actually started as a small entrepreneurial startup only 52 years ago by a local veteran. Both of those elements have become part of our DNA as a company,” Comcast Senior Vice President David L. Cohen said.
Today the application process for The Bunker Philadelphia is officially open. Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to visit their web page to apply. There are many ways to get engaged with startup companies either as a mentor or as a participating founder. Additionally, participating startups will be looking for tech talent to come help with early-stage services. For Chicago, and the rest of the nation, this network will help invigorate the American economy with some of the most creative and entrepreneurial minds of our generation.
“We can do more to ignite the spirit of innovation amongst those who’ve already demonstrated the values of hard work, commitment to service, and the belief that serving and creating are not things that other people do, they are things that we must do,” said Conner. “But to put the institution and the infrastructure behind what we’re trying to do requires partners like Comcast. And it’s in their core.
“We’re honored to mark this national sponsorship in which the world’s leading broadcast and cable company can join in partnership with an emerging network of military veterans and innovators with a belief that together we can create something that can impact the global economy.”
You can find even more photos from the event on our Facebook page.