It's no secret that veterans returning from duty can have a hard time adjusting to civilian life. Finding a job can be even more trying, but now, a new program in Boston is providing veterans with a solid support system.
WeWork and Bunker Labs, which formed a national partnership in late 2017, announced Boston's inaugural Veterans in Residence program. Ten veterans were picked and given a free space to work and thousands of contacts, with the goal of making their business ideas flourish.
Upon first glance, it looks like your typical office space on the eighth floor in WeWork's Atlantic Avenue building, but what's out of the ordinary are the circumstances the people inside have overcome.
"It's a huge transition going from the military to civilian life, and it's kind of daunting," said Daniel Bosch, a Navy veteran who worked as an aircraft mechanic.
Bosch said he loved his time serving. It guaranteed him a steady salary, and a close working environment with guys that became family. It also gave him a protected environment with more structure than agency, so when he left, his life turned upside down.
"You're 18 years old, and you don't know anything about anything," said Bosch. "To leave that and go into this world, where there is so many unknowns."
Among the struggles, Bosch had an idea. It was born from his love of cars as a kid combined with his experience with aircraft in the military: a drone unlike any other on the market was born.
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"It has three cameras at a time, more cameras than any other drone system, actually," Bosch said, explaining what makes his product different. "It can go 100 mile per hour and withstand 15 mile per hour winds."
Bosch's drone is made for the future, garnering interest from companies like Jaguar, the U.S. Air Force and various energy companies.
"Right now, drones are rudimentary in their design, and a lot of them are plastic and not reliable," said Bosch. "But as we transition to smart cities, and Amazon starts delivering packages with drones, they are going to have to be designed like aircraft."
The Veterans in Residence program selects 10 veterans every six months and gives them a solid foundation to flourish.
"They get accepted into the program, they get six months of free space and access to over 400,000 members around the globe," said Josh Rosenthal, the program's northeast director.
The programs is in 15 cities nationwide and 30 percent of the veterans are female entrepreneurs, almost double the number of female recruits in the military today.
Dr. Atyia Martin's program to help fight racial discrimination is on its way to launch.
"You don't always get a chance to interact with other veterans, especially in Boston, so it's really been an amazing opportunity. I am so grateful," said Dr. Martin.
The Veterans in Residence program is open to any veteran or military spouse entrepreneur in the Boston area. To apply for the next cohort, click here.