From left, Todd Connor, CEO of Bunker Labs; Michael Hubbard, William Blair analyst; Laura Coy, director of community engagement for William Blair.

William Blair was presented the 2018 Bunker Builder-corporate partner award by Bunker Labs, an entrepreneurial hub for military veterans, to honor the firm’s leadership in helping vets start their own businesses.

The award was announced during the Bunker’s Chicago Muster, an annual summit for veterans to connect and hear inspiring talks by business leaders and veterans on starting businesses, technology innovation and community building. It was held this year at Google’s new Chicago offices on May 17 with almost 400 veterans attending.

“William Blair has been a catalytic partner in the growth of Bunker Labs over the last three years,” says Todd Connor, CEO of Bunker Labs and a veteran. “Beyond the financial support that William Blair has provided they have committed hundreds of hours to mentor veteran entrepreneurs, hosted dozens of workshops and events, and are now helping us shape our sustainability strategy to ensure that Bunker Labs continues to serve veterans for the next 50 years and beyond.”

William Blair began working with Bunker Labs in 2015 shortly after the non-profit was created with the goals of inspiring and connecting the next generation of veterans to drive new business development. Bunker Labs, founded in Chicago, has spread to 22 cities across the country and supports thousands of American veterans wanting to start and run their own businesses.

William Blair analysts and bankers teach a popular financial modeling course designed to sharpen the entrepreneurs’ skills in accounting, marketing and attracting investors.

“What’s impressive about this award is it highlights the caliber of our employees and their commitment to the community,” says Michael Hubbard, a William Blair analyst and former Marine, who heads WB’s veterans group.

“We earned it by sharing our financial expertise, our core competency as a firm, with budding entrepreneurs so they can build successful businesses,” he adds.