When I put in my application for this program in late fall I never thought I'd get accepted as an old man trying to launch an eco-tourisim site up here in the forest out of these 80 year old cabins but much to my surprise I was approved! So starting in January I'll be spending a great deal of time up in Denver at one of the WeWork coworking facilities with 12 other members of my cohort working on my business plan, financial projections and pitch deck in order to then be able to go out and pitch to investors, private equity funds and or apply for grants in order to raise capital to complete the purchase, do the rehabiltation and ultimatley fund the glamping and equestrian expansions I have planned. Here is a brief explanation of who Bunker Labs is and what type of program I'll be participating over the next six months.
Bunker Labs provides communities, programs, and courses that help military veterans and military spouses start and grow successful businesses and startups. "Bunker Labs – a 501(c)(3) non-profit – is a national network of veteran entrepreneurs dedicated to helping new veteran entrepreneurs start their own business. We are committed to seeing that every entrepreneur in the veteran community has the network, tools, and resources they need to start their own business. 25% of transitioning service members want to start a business and they need places inside their community where they can connect with the people, resources, and support they need to start and grow their businesses. We’re here for them. There are over 35 Bunker Lab chapters across America.
The Veterans in Residence program that I was accepted into is explained in this video:
Since I've already been working on the El Lodge Taos vacation rental business plan that's now about 80% complete I'll be able to focus on the cost estimates for the rehabilitation of existing improvements, the expansion plans to add glamping sites and equestrian center as well as focus on plans for eco-friendly sustainable projects such as the addition of EV charging stations, solar and wind generating installations as well as organic farming projects.
Everything as of today has been and remains "on hold" since we were evacuated due to the wildfires back in May and not a dime of the billions of dollars Congress has approved for relief has crossed the county line into Taos County but I am told that it's on it's way. Not much of the county was affected by the fires but we, unfortuatly, are located literally two driveways down the highway from that line and were affected greatly. The lodge and cabins all receied heavy smoke damage to the point that any soft surface items such as furniture, linens and such had to be thrown away and we are still trying to get the smoke "scum" for lack of a better word off all the hard surfaces. I've retained the country's biggest & best wilfire law firm, Singleton & Schreiber out of CA to litigate on our behalf but the wheels turn slow when dealing with FEMA and what relief in the form of financial reparations that may come may come too late so I'm putting that hope out of my mind and leaving that battle up to the capable hands of S&S.
I'm just honkered down for winter with a few hearty montly tenants and doing my best to keep the utility bills paid, will do this residency starting in January and hopefully emerge in Spring with the funds to enter into the renovation phase but time will tell!