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Operation start-up: ASU launches Veteran Accelerator for aspiring entrepreneurs

University hunkers down with Bunker Labs to advance programs

A dramatic shade structure at SkySong
November 12, 2015

Coinciding with Arizona State University’s annual Salute to Service honoring military, veterans and their families, the university is on a mission to make a big impact for our veterans. The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at ASU is leading this effort and teaming up with the Bunker Labs (the Bunker), a non-profit nationwide network that supports veteran entrepreneurs, to launch initiatives that include the ASU Veteran Accelerator.

The ASU Veteran Accelerator will provide entrepreneurial training, mentorship and support for student or faculty veterans with support of the Bunker, which will have offices at ASU SkySong where the program will be based. This collaborative effort between ASU and the Bunker can unlock the potential of identifying and nurturing veteran start-ups by tapping into the robust Arizona veteran community. ASU students, faculty and community veterans interested in growing an existing venture or seeking guidance to develop a start-up idea will have access to training, mentors and support through ASU and the Bunker to accelerate their entrepreneurial potential.

ASU is initiating this program to fill a need for innovative ways to elevate the importance of supporting the military and veteran community in starting businesses. “As a very proud Navy reservist, I see firsthand the tremendous talent that comes out of military service and how that can be translated into valuable business skills,” said Tracy Lea, program manager at ASU’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “ASU aims to create pathways for veterans who have entrepreneurial aspirations.”

“ASU has a strong and enduring commitment to our military and veteran population, creating and managing programs that include opportunities for men and women transitioning from their military careers,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, senior vice president at ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, which includes the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “The ASU Veteran Accelerator program and collaboration with the Bunker Labs Incubator demonstrates an opportunity for our veterans to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations by equipping them with training and mentorship support to help guide them in their process.” 

"Bunker Labs leadership is really excited at the opportunity to help ASU veteran students break into entrepreneurship as a career path.  Historically, veterans are excellent start-up founders and business leaders,” said Bunker Labs executive director Phillip Potter. “Our national incubator network has enjoyed tremendous success assisting talented veterans navigate the early stages of new venture creation, product development, and market entry.  In just the last year, Bunker Labs founders have raised several millions of dollars in seed capital and been accepted to some of the world's most prestigious technology accelerators.  We are confident that we'll have similar results in Arizona."

Interested veteran ASU students and faculty can contact Tracy Lea for the application process and to learn about an information session to be held in December:, 480-884-1554.

Written by Tracy Lea.

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