BUNKER LABS CELEBRATES

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Every February, we as a nation commemorate Black History Month. It’s a time to recognize the struggle for freedom and equal opportunity Black Americans have long faced and continue to fight. It is also a time to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans throughout history and today.

In recognition of Black History Month, we are highlighting the Black entrepreneurs and small business owners in the current Veterans in Residence cohort. #blackhistorymonth

Brandon Hunter, Army Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Dallas

ROOG

ROOG is an early-stage startup that believes small business success should be inclusive. Their goal is to identify new ways of creating economic opportunity for all American entrepreneurs, regardless of their background, through a digital marketplace and mobile app that allows shoppers to find local women and minority-owned (including military veterans) small businesses. 

Daton Carter, Army Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Raleigh

HOLLYWOOD JAVA

Hollywood Java is a Pop-up Coffee Shop & Mobile Coffee Bar dedicated to building community around specialty coffee.

Daniel Lee, Army Veteran​

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Philadelphia

FARINA PASTA AND NOODLE

Farina pasta and noodle brings a new concept to the pasta market by creating Italian style pasta and Asian style noodles and serving them in customizable combinations! They put a creative spin on traditional style pastas and noodles to create modern dishes inspired by cultures and cuisines throughout the world.

Ali Akil, Army Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Seattle

PUBLIC BLOC

Public Bloc, an enterprise software company, creates a system of accountability and transparency between investors, contractors, and government institutions by addressing key issues in international financing, project management and contracting. Our technology software includes artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies to mitigate issues in infrastructure development such as project financing, stakeholder communication, project management, and quality control.

Freeman Fields, Navy Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Atlanta

iVAULT HOME PROTECTION

iVault Home Protection is comprised of veterans and former real estate investors who know when it comes to protecting your home there is more at stake than just personal property. Protecting your home and family is their number one priority. Having a military background informs their ability to pay special attention to the specific details needed to support your safety and the safety of your family.

Gable Eaton, Marine Corps Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Atlanta Virtual

TEQTOUCH

Gable Eaton, founder of TeqTouch, realized that the germs we come into contact with almost daily can be avoided with a simple solution. After obtaining a patent for his product in 2012, he has spent hours refining and perfecting UTouch, a patented wearable personal stylus device that protects the user from germs and viruses on public touchscreens in grocery stores, fast food restaurants and airports.

Joshica Kiah, Air Force Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Washington D.C.

JOSHICA BEAUTY

JOSHICA BEAUTY was founded in 2015, in Los Angeles, by creator Joshica Kiah, after rediscovering her natural hair. She decided she was no longer going to hide her natural hair by wearing wigs and weaves but instead embracing what she had. JOSHICA BEAUTY celebrates black natural hair and clean beauty by offering haircare for afro textured natural hair and a selection of clean beauty products made with natural organic ingredients.

Paul Bennings, Air Force Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Las Vegas

HEAVYWEIGHT APPAREL

Heavyweight Apparel of NYC is a street brand company that takes measures at every stage of the manufacturing process to ensure they are making the highest quality hoodies, sweatshirts, and tank-tops available using technology that has a positive impact on the planet while achieving sustainability through partnerships that use newer dye machines. These machines use 7x less water than the average clothing manufacturer, saving 24 million gallons a week! By purchasing approved products, customers play an integral part in supporting the textile industry’s sustainable development.

Warning: Some images NSFW

Stephane Manuel, Army Veteran

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Chicago Cohort

TRUEFIKTION

TrueFiktion is an ed-tech company that uses comics, curriculum, and coaching to deliver learning experiences around the untold stories of marginalized groups. History education — especially about the stories of marginalized people in the U.S. — has a long way to go. These stories are often buried deep within the pages of dense, lifeless textbooks that are rarely, if ever, written by those who personally know what it means to be marginalized. And for every story mentioned in a textbook, there are dozens of untold stories that can help us make more sense of our past, present, and future.

Charlynda Scales, Air Force Reserve

Veterans in Residence Cohort 21A - Columbus

MUTT SAUCE

In 1956, “Mutt” got the idea to make a sauce he could use for every meal. Mutt’s sauce was a multi-purpose specialty sauce, infusing sweet, tangy and a little bit of heat into each spoonful. Mutt never turned his sauce into a company and upon his passing he left the recipe to his granddaughter she decided to have it bottled, with his name and face…and share it with you.

Stories from Black Entrepreneurs in our community

Former Ambassador: Mike Sehzue

Visiting Liberia in 2010, Mike Sehzue got to see firsthand the struggle that people of his father’s home country were going through as a result of 14 years of civil war. Challenges were many and the growing pain ran deep. The country was hard at work to rebuild infrastructure, power, and clean systems.

Former Veterans in Residence Cohort Member

D’Shawn Russell is the owner of Southern Elegance Candle Company. They make southern-themed home fragrance products in Raeford, North Carolina. Southern Elegance is a community-focused brand that works in partnership with other local businesses; their wax, wicks, and containers are from suppliers in North Carolina.

THE TRANSITION PODCAST: INTERVIEWS WITH BLACK FOUNDERS






STATISTICS

According to the Small Business Association, there are 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses in the United States. Of those 2.5 million small businesses, Black entrepreneurs and small business owners were majority owners in nearly 11 percent of firms. Roughly speaking, that means there are around 270,000 Black-owned, veteran-owned small businesses in the United States.

Black entrepreneurs and small business owners face disproportionate challenges, however, when it comes to operating a business. According to SCORE, lack of capital and cash flow are among the biggest challenges. At Bunker Labs, we are committed to supporting Black military-connected entrepreneurs and small business owners through our community programs, and we strive to provide resources that help mitigate these barriers.