Business Bunker Provides Support to Local Veterans like Tillman Scholar Blake Schroedter

Blog | 03/10/2015

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – Chicago’s popular incubator 1871, located in the Merchandise Mart, is now home to a unique work space for veterans. It’s called The Bunker. Inside, Army National Guard, Blake Schroedter, learned how to patent and market his product. “Basically when we were deployed we found out that there was no good way to make a protein shake, on the go, during our missions. Often times we put the powder in a zip lock baggie to be able to be used later on, when needed. Unfortunately, this would often result in the bag breaking and then you have powder all over your gear,” said Schroedter.

Back at home, Schroedter and two of his veteran comrades developed the Easy Go Dispenser.

The plastic container stores powder, and then selects the appropriate measurement for a protein shake.

It’s great for body builders, and moms on the go. Powdered baby formula can also be stored in the container.

The Bunker is currently working with 19 companies, owned and operated by veterans.

The concept is the first in the country. It was developed by Navy veteran, Todd Connor.

“Every entrepreneur needs really locally, hyper-connected communities and veterans are no different. They get out of the military and they have great veteran networks, military networks but they don’t have strong networks in the investor community, the corporate communities and so we

are that place where veterans can come and really meet the right people that they need to help their early stage businesses become successful,” said Connor.

With the assistance of The Bunker, Schroedter and his team have sold 15-thousand Easy Go Products.

And that’s just the beginning!

“How do we get to the Babies R Us or the Buy Buy Baby? Todd has helped facilitate those connections as well,” said Schroedter.

The Bunker opened in November, on the 19th floor of the Merchandise Mart.

Other cities have already turned to Connor to duplicate the model.

“Right now, six percent of active duty personnel leaving the military will actually start a business, but 25 percent want to. After World War II, 49 percent of veterans actually came home and started businesses and became self-employed. We would like to see more than six percent of veterans start businesses. We think veterans can be the next great economic engine for the American economy.

The Bunker selects companies through an application process,” said Conner

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