Area vets help their own launch small businesses

In the FOX 7 Care Force, Mike Warren explores how the military ethic and ethos can survive and thrive in the world of business and entrepreneurship.

It's what an Austin business incubator is doing with local veteran owned and operated small businesses.

A rented kitchen in east Austin is the front line for Alex Recker's small business called "Unsweet Tea."

He says his teas are healthy, no preservatives, green tea infused, they detoxify and calm the heart.

What's not so calming is growing the business.

But this marine vet has reinforcements in the shape of a business incubator called The Bunker.

Some of their help includes free legal advice, public relations and coaching to help train vets to make the perfect pitch.

The Bunker's mission is to help grow veteran or veteran-spouse-owned small businesses.

They only work with vets because they too are vets.

"In the military you didn't do anything alone and when you get out you go alone..and we're saying we trained together we fought together...let's start a business together."

Blake Hogan and Johnathan Wojtewicz both served in the Marine Corps.

They are simply taking military values and sensibilities and applying them to the business world.

"You look at a bad day in the military vs. a bad day in civilian world...we're trained in the most chaotic environment and expected to perform to perfection and in business things always change."

The Bunker concept began in Chicago. The Austin branch got going in January and it's now problem-solving and team-building for 12 local vet-owned businesses.

The Bunker doesn't charge for their services, they are sponsored so they can pass on their experience in business education and start-ups in the proper spirit: veteran to veteran.

"The best thing is building that community and camaraderie that we most miss now that we're out of the military...it's hard to find that camaraderie."

Alex has seen that camaraderie so even though it's just him in the rented kitchen brewing his tea, he is not alone.

"It's just understood that when you work with another vet, you're expecting a certain level of commitment and you can rely and let your guard down to be dependent on people and it's nice to have and we couldn't be more thankful for it."

To learn more about The Bunker, click here. In addition to Austin, they have ten other locations across the country.

Alex's business, Unsweet Tea, sells four types of tea in thirteen stores in Central Texas. To learn more about Unsweet Tea, click here.


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