Chicago’s Bunker Labs Nurtures Veteran Entrepreneurship

| Adam J. Hecktman

November 11th is a day that many of us remember to thank those who serve and have served in the US military. It is an acknowledgement that we are thinking about their service. The Bunker in Chicago thinks about this every day, and not only to thank our service members, but to nurture the entrepreneurial potential inherent in the military experience.

In his blog, Bunker executive director Todd Connor states that only 6 percent of new businesses are started by veterans. When you think about the skills that are required to start a new business (creativity, tenacity, drive, problem solving, leadership) they mesh beautifully with the skills tapped into by military service. The Bunker is there to make that match.

And so it is with Microsoft, as well. Last week, Microsoft announced an expansion of our Microsoft Software & Systems Academy (MSSA), which provides IT career training to eligible active-duty U.S. service members. Eligible active-duty service members at 12 military installations will now be able to develop the career skills necessary to meet the IT industry’s high demand for cloud developers, cloud administrators, and database and business intelligence administrators. Upon successful completion of the program, participants gain an interview for a full-time job at Microsoft or one of our hiring partners, and 81 companies have hired MSSA grads.

It all starts with the amazing people in our services. Many service members are wrapping up their duties, and are looking for new, promising career paths. We fill them with marketable technology training. They leave in a strong position to compete for high-paying, long-term careers in technology. And with programs like The Bunker, they start businesses that hire even more people, scaling what makes our vets excellent. I’m proud of The Bunker’s presence in Chicago. I’m proud of Microsoft’s work in Chicago. And I’m grateful for our men and women in service.

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Adam J. Hecktman

You may recognize Adam. He’s a regular on TV, you can hear him on the radio, he’s penned numerous articles and is the co-founder of the Chicago City Data Users Group. But some of Adam’s most important work is done behind the scenes in his role as Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Engagement for Chicago. Tech giants, universities and government leaders turn to Adam for guidance on all matters technology, and he happily obliges, helping Chicago overcome challenges and capitalizing on new, exciting opportunities.