Four* LatinasinBusiness.us community members have been selected as semifinalists for the national HSN competition in partnership with Project American Dreams (projectamericandreams.com). We are so proud for all their accomplishments!
Frances Prado (CA), founder and inventor of the bras organizer Hanging Secrets; Victoria Flores (NY), co-founder at LUX Beauty Club; Hipatia Lopez (NJ), creator of the Empanada Fork; and Francesca Kennedy, founder of Ix Style, a fashion brand based on Guatemalan designs will move to the next round of the business competition that aims at discovering, mentoring and fast-tracking product innovations created by Latino entrepreneurs on the shopping network HSN.
The selected entrepreneurs will participate in a hands-on program designed to introduce new products to the marketplace through a partnership between leading lifestyle retailer HSN, and award-winning entrepreneur and creator of Dreamers Ventures, Liliana “Lili” Gil Valletta.
“We are very proud of the accomplishments of our Latina entrepreneurs and excited about this well-deserved opportunity for their innovative products,” said Susana G Baumann, LatinasinBusiness.us Founder and Editor-in-Chief. “In fact, Empanada Fork was the very first Latina entrepreneur we featured on LatinasinBusiness.us platform when we launched a little over two years ago for Hispanic Heritage Month. Hanging Secrets was also selected as one of the featured products in July 2015,” she said.
Hipatia Lopez, winner of the 2016 LatinasinBusiness.us Best Business Pitch that recently took place in West New York, recalls that in her earlier stages of founding her business H.L. Unico LLC DBA Empanada Fork she was going to NYC looking for Latina empowering networks, wishing there was one in New Jersey.
“To my surprise, I was so happy to have met Susana Baumann at a Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey event. I became part of the LatinasinBusiness.us community in its early stages,” she said. “Sometimes, as an entrepreneur, we feel alone and on our own. We are afraid to ask for help! LatinasinBusiness.us genuinely cares about its members and wants to see them achieve their goals. I was so happy to have won the LatinasinBusiness.us #pitchyourbusiness competition two years in a row and I look forward to working with them more in the near future,” Hipatia said.
Frances Prado, CEO and Inventor of Hanging Secrets, also remembers contacting LatinasinBusiness.us to promote her business. “In June of 2015, I reached out to Susana G. Baumann regarding the opportunity of being spotlighted in LatinasinBusiness.us. Susana supported my request and made it very easy to provide the content about my life as an inventor and my entrepreneur journey,” she said. “My article was published on July 2015. When I started reading the post, it made me cry. I had to stop and take a few breaths before I was able to continue reading it. Susana was able to convert my content into an amazing story that gushed empathy. When I shared the article to my peers and family, they all had the same reaction. Susana has a true gift in storytelling,” she stated.
The HSN competition next steps
At the HSN competition, judges reviewed and selected up to 20 products; five entrepreneurs will then win the opportunity to introduce their products to HSN viewers reaching 94 million households in the Spring of 2017.
“While Latinos represent 17% of the population and are starting more new businesses than the general population, they receive less access to opportunities and get less than 1% of all venture capital and angel funding,” said Lili Gil Valletta, co-founder of Dreamers Ventures. “This is why I assembled an alliance of leading experts, investors and mentors to fill the gap in access and opportunity for Latino entrepreneurs.” This network of experts will provide personalized coaching and resources to the selected finalists in preparation for their national launch. Various HSN celebrity partners will also provide their personal business tips to the contestants throughout the competition.
U.S. Bank supports Project American Dreams as a partner to educate, empower and offer access to capital for Hispanic business owners. Other celebrities and organizations involved in the project include best-selling author and “TV’s Billion Dollar Man” Bob Circosta, a pioneer of the multi-billion dollar live television shopping industry; and Access Latina, a LatinasinBusiness.us media strategic partner, which offers capital resources, access to networks and mentoring for Latinas.
Here are their stories:
*Correction: in a previous version, the inclusion of Carmen Milagro from Borbon Skincare was a namesake. The selected finalist is Carmen Milagros Torres, creator of The Pop Cornerie.