Veteran Entrepreneur Spotlight:

Julio & Juan Pablo Osorio

Julio Osorio was a marine. A proud reservist serving in Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Marines. He already served a tour overseas, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in ‘04-05. So, when the powers-that-be assembled the unit in the hangar bay, he knew he didn’t have to go back. He did his tour, and now it was someone else’s turn.

Except his brother was one of those “someone elses”.

Juan Pablo Osorio joined the Marine Corps reserves following in Julio’s footsteps. He looked up to his brother, and Julio knew it was important to keep setting a good example. 

Julio & Juan Pablo’s Military Experience

Julio signed up to join the Marine Corps September 1st, 2001, just a week and a half before 9-11. He was in bootcamp in 2002, and found himself in deployed overseas as an infantry assaultman to support Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. He did a second deployment in 2007 before fulfilling his commitment, separating as a Sergeant (E-5) after nearly eight years of service.

Juan Pablo served nearly six years as a reservist, deploying to Iraq with his brother in 2007. After Julio separated, Juan had a second deployment, this time to Afghanistan, through most of 2011. There, he worked protective security detail (PSD) around Kabul Airport, providing security for big names like General Petraeus and General Mattis.  Juan Pablo separated in late 2011, also achieving the rank of Sergeant (E-5).

They gave Julio a choice—left side of the hangar or right. To the left, he could go home. To the right, back to Iraq. But family looks out for each other, and no chance he was letting his little brother go to war while he sat on the couch. Julio volunteered to deploy again, and served a second tour in Iraq with brother Juan Pablo during ’06-07.

The American Dream

In 1998, most Americans were focused on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls second threepeat, or the France World Cup. Julio (14) and Juan Pablo Osorio (11) were with their father, in the process of immigrating to the United States of America from Colombia. They landed in Houston, and the boys enrolled in school. Their parents imparted how much opportunity there was in the United States, and both boys took those words to heart, serving in the Marines to pave the way for college, and eventually, entrepreneurship.

Juan Pablo had an entrepreneur’s heart from the start, selling bracelets his aunt taught him to make, or even DVDs at middle school. Still, it took him a few years to commit to the risks of entrepreneurship, but once he made the decision, he got his degree, and launched his business while pursuing his MBA from the University of Houston. He launched Alpha Co. Marketing & Media in December of 2018, a multimedia online marketing company with unique bilingual marketing capabilities.

As for Julio, he got his degree from Baylor University, and once separated from the military, got his MBA from Florida International University, and then his Certificate in Accountancy (CAP) from University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business. He spent much of his post-military career working for other companies in finance and accounting, but followed his brother into entrepreneurship and launched J and M Advising in March of 2022, providing tax, accounting, and advising services to businesses.

Connecting With Bunker Labs

Juan Pablo found Bunker Labs first, while searching for entrepreneur resources after being frustrated with local business programs that sold entrepreneurship but taught middle management. When he found Bunker Labs, he had a good feeling, and signed up for the Veterans in Residence (ViR) 20B cohort. He immediately felt he had struck gold, and told his brother Julio about it.

Not only was Bunker Labs a place where he could talk about growing his newly launched business, it was a place he could be vulnerable and talk about unique barriers veterans face, like PTSD and depression, and how feelings can start to spiral if you have a bad week in business. And not only is there trust, because it’s all fellow veterans and they get it, but they have a better grasp on what to say afterward, about the resources available, things that helped them.

It’s a real community, and Juan Pablo felt that connection helped end the self-imposed isolation he had been subjecting himself to since his time overseas. At the same time, it recaptured that ability to trust the person next to look out for you and respect you he felt while serving. He loved it so much he signed back up for ViR 21A, and served as a cohort captain for 21B, and volunteered as an Ambassador for Houston for 22-23.  He also joined Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship 22B with his brother Julio to encourage him to embrace the invaluable resources of the Bunker Labs community. He’s currently a member of CEOcircle’s 22 cohort, and is repeating the program, having already been accepted for the 23 cohort.

Julio followed just a couple years later, participating in the ViR 22B, and serving as a cohort captain for the 23A and 23B cohorts, as well as BBiE 22B cohorts. He continues to grow his business and enjoy the camaraderie. He also enjoys the role reversal, of having led the way for Juan Pablo most of his life, be it high school, the Marines and Iraq, or college, but now it’s Julio following Juan Pablo to Bunker Labs.

 

Bunker Labs for me has created a foundation, a platform that, you know, every time you hear 80% of new businesses fail in the first five years, well, they don’t have a community like Bunker Labs backing them up. They don’t have a person they trust to ask questions, a brotherhood or sisterhood, or the knowledge of all the resources. With Bunker Labs I get all these business experts in my life that are like family to me. Bunker Labs has created a platform for success, the way they support you through your entrepreneurial journey.”

Julio Osorio

Co-Founder, J and M Advising

Thriving In Entrepreneurship

Both Julio and Juan Pablo Osorio are thriving. Julio just celebrated being in business eighteen months, at which point Forbes says 80% of new businesses fail. He credits the Bunker Labs community support as a key reason he’s been able to adapt business to market conditions, carry on, and grow.

Juan Pablo Osorio is on a rocket ship. Alpha Co. Marketing & Media has attracted high-profile clients like PepsiCo in their Juntos Crecemos initiative to promote Hispanic-owned businesses. Revenue is on track to reach 1MM a year, and he has hundreds of satisfied clients. Juan Pablo is also featured as a guest speaker at AMA Houston, Dog Whistle Branding podcast, and even entering pitch competitions. He will be presenting a workshop on bilingual digital marketing at the 2023 NMSDC Conference in Baltimore, and co-hosts his own podcast, Transmicíon.

Beyond all their personal success, though, both Julio and Juan Pablo make clear that it’s the community at Bunker Labs that excites them the most. That, and being able to participate, as they’ve participated in everything else in their life, together.

It’s Your Time

Veterans in Residence is a peer-facilitated, six-month business incubator that provides veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs a networking community, business skills, and opportunities to help grow their business.
Breaking Barriers in Entrepreneurship is a virtual workshop series that facilitates business growth and support within AAPI, Black, Latinx, and female veteran and military spouse communities. The eight-week workshop is designed to create an immediate impact for early to growth-stage businesses by providing access to business tools, resources, capital opportunities, mentorship, and a stronger peer network!

As of January 2024, Bunker Labs is now a part of Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). In addition to ongoing Bunker Labs programming, we’d encourage you to browse IVMF’s deep wealth of entrepreneurship programming, much of it available virtually or at locations across the country. Find the program to help your business take the next step today!