New Jersey woman one of 18 entrepreneurs competing in ‘Project American Dreams’
A New Jersey woman who has been chosen to take part in a Home Shopping Network competition sees the program as not only a platform for sharing her invention with an audience of millions, but also as a great opportunity to help her fellow Latino entrepreneurs.
Hipatia Lopez, of Elmwood Park, New Jersey, has reached the semifinal round of HSN’s “Project American Dreams” competition. Lopez is the inventor of the Empanada Fork – a stainless steel, multi-use culinary utensil that makes it easy to close empanadas, pastries or anything else one might want to seal between two layers of dough.
In “Project American Dreams,” Latino entrepreneurs compete for the chance to launch their products live on the television network.
Lopez will compete with 17 other entrepreneurs in the semifinals on Jan. 24 at HSN’s studios in St. Petersburg, Florida. Five selected from the semifinal round will advance to the final competition, which will be aired March 13 on HSN.
“The Empanada Fork saves you time so you can make more pastries in the kitchen,” Lopez said. “When you use the Empanada Fork, the pastry comes out professional and beautiful. Presentation is key.”
The “Project American Dreams” program was launched by Dreamers Venture, a business accelerator with a focus on product innovation. Dreamers Venture’s principal partners include Bob Circosta, the author of the best-selling book “Life is a Pitch,” former Johnson & Johnson executive Lili Gil Valetta and her co-founder at the cross-cultural marketing strategy firm XL Alliance, Enrique Arbelaez.
“I am grateful for this platform that has been created to help Latino/Latina entrepreneurs,” Lopez said. “It’s given me an opportunity to share my story with others and I hope to inspire more people to invent.”
Competing in “Project American Dreams” has been a great experience, Lopez said.
“Being chosen as a semifinalist and having product recognition from HSN – which is a huge shopping network – makes me so happy. If I reach the final five, I could have my Empanada Fork seen by 95 million people. How unbelievable is that?”
Through projects like the HSN entrepreneurial competition, Dreamers Venture seeks to “fill the gap in access and opportunity for Latino entrepreneurs,” who, the accelerator says, receive only a small fraction of the venture capital backing of non-Latino businesses.
“According to research conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Latinos are starting businesses more frequently than the overall population, however these businesses are smaller and making less money than their non-Latino counterparts,” Dreamers Venture says. “Latino businesses could have generated an additional $1.4 trillion in 2012 if they had been of equal average size to non-Latino businesses. Only about 1 percent of all Latino-owned businesses created between 2007 and 2012 in the U.S. received venture capital or angel investments.”
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