In a time when thousands of veterans are returning home and finding jobs, they are vastly underrepresented among the ranks of entrepreneurs. But a new initiative at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spearheaded by veterans, is hoping to change that by helping fellow veterans grow high-tech startups.

Michael Ertmer, a five-year veteran of the U.S. Army with more than 10 years of experience in Silicon Valley, is the leading force behind Bunker Labs @ Wisconsin. Veterans have unique qualifications for running their own business due to their experience on active duty and in the battlefield, Ertmer said.

Bunker Labs officially opened Nov. 10 at University Research Park in Madison and is currently working with its first client,, a software company that helps citizens to better engage in local politics. The Lab is actively recruiting 10-20 more veterans with promising technology-related startups or young companies. Bunker Labs is also supported by the Small Business Development Center at the Wisconsin School of Business.

The program, which originally began in Chicago, was started after a three-day session of Patriot Boot Camp showed a resounding demand in the area. Patriot Boot Camp is a program that is designed to help veterans and their families with education and resources to become entrepreneurs.

More information about Bunker Labs @ Wisconsin can be found by calling toll-free (800.940.7232) or by visiting the initiative’s website.