SAN ANTONIO – (December 1, 2021) USAA announced the launch of the “From Service to Start-Up” pitch contest to showcase, celebrate and support the next generation of military-connected entrepreneurs with a focus on veterans and military spouses. As part of its 100th anniversary in 2022, the contest features a $100,000 grand prize and $180,000 in additional placement prizes, seeking to find deserving military-connected start-up businesses that are making an impact on their communities.
“Nearly 100 years ago, USAA was formed as a military start-up company, and we’ve never forgotten our entrepreneurial spirit,” said Nathan McKinley, Vice President of Corporate Development at USAA. “With more than 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States and countless veterans and military spouses looking for flexible and meaningful employment following their military service, the pitch contest is just one more way we are showing our support and advocacy for the military community and positive contributions they make to our communities.”
Bunker Labs, a leading non-profit that works to empower and support military-connected entrepreneurs and small business owners, will lead the application and support process. USAA has provided the nonprofit more than $2.5 million since 2018 to ensure military-connected entrepreneurs receive the resources and support needed to start successful business ventures through programs such as Veteran in Residence, a six-month business incubator that provides veterans, military spouses, and military family members with coworking space, local community, a national business network, and targeted support to grow their business.
“As a non-profit that helps aspiring veteran entrepreneurs take their ideas and turn them into impactful businesses, USAA’s support of Bunker Labs sends a profound message that USAA believes in veterans and our military community and has their back,” said Blake Hogan, CEO of Bunker Labs. “USAA’s 100-Year pitch contest will make a difference in the lives of the winners and help propel them forward.”
The six regional stops for the pitch contest are Los Angeles (Feb. 17), Austin (March 24), Chicago (April 21), Washington, D.C. (May 26), Seattle (July 21), and Charlotte (Sept. 15). Regional finalists from each city will be invited to the finals in San Antonio, Military City, U.S.A and USAA’s hometown, in November 2022.
Interested entrepreneurs can visit bunkerlabs.org/usaa-pitch to fill out an applicant interest form and get more details on how and when to submit their materials for entrance into each location’s event.
Founded in 1922 by a group of military officers, USAA is among the leading providers of insurance, banking and investment and retirement solutions to more than 13 million members of the U.S. military, veterans who have honorably served and their families. Headquartered in San Antonio, USAA has offices in seven U.S. cities and three overseas locations and employs approximately 36,000 people worldwide. Each year, the company contributes to national and local nonprofits in support of military families and communities where employees live and work. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.
About Bunker Labs
Bunker Labs is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of ensuring that the military-connected community has the network, tools, and opportunities they need to start successful ventures. We accomplish our mission by inspiring members of the military community to see their entrepreneurial potential. We equip our program participants with practical tools, insights, experts, and resources to accelerate their success, and we connect entrepreneurs with a robust community and diverse, relevant networks.