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Military & Veterans' Issues

Bunker Labs Launches San Antonio Chapter

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Carson Frame / TPR News

  A non-profit for military entrepreneurs celebrated the launch of its San Antonio chapter Friday.

Bunker Labs opened at Geekdom with the purpose of helping the roughly 400 people who leave active duty military service every month in San Antonio transition to the civilian workforce.  

“I think one of the biggest challenges of leaving the uniform is losing that sense of camaraderie,” said Cedrick Brown, founder of the San Antonio-based Military Transition Network . “Being in an environment where people are always serving, and then coming back into the civilian world where it seems like it’s more about the person or the organization.”

Brown, who was a part of the unveiling of Bunker Labs, said when he was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 2005, Bunker Labs’ co-founder Johnathan Wojtewicz didn’t like what he was hearing about the transition out.

“Twelve years ago, the messaging coming out of the military was horrendous. It was get on unemployment and find a J-O-B,” he said.

A budding entrepreneur, Wojtewicz decided he needed mentors, not unemployment. So he set out to find them. After founding two successful startups, he shifted his attention to helping other vets transition to the private sector. The result was Bunker Labs.

“Our vision is that veterans will have the tools, the training, the resources, and the community and connections to be successful in their entrepreneur innovation journey,” he said.

Michael Pleasant, community manager with Bunker Labs San Antonio, said part of his job is to map out local resources and networking opportunities for veterans.

“We try to facilitate the connections,” said Pleasant. “So if somebody comes to us and they want to start a bakery or a hair salon, et cetera, it’ll be our job to connect them with the people who know best how to start those businesses, or who know best the lessons learned in those industries.”

Bunker Labs is now accepting applications for its 2018 San Antonio Launch Lab, a 12 week program that teaches business basics and helps students hone their entrepreneurial goals.

Carson Frame can be reached at carson@tpr.org or on Twitter @carson_frame