Social media and empanadas at Feria de Negocios Hispanos de New Jersey

Two successful Hispanic entrepreneurs who built their business around empanadas and social media will relate their stories as keynote speakers at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de New Jersey this coming Tuesday July 18 at the Pines Manor in Edison New Jersey.


So what is an empanada? According to Carlos Serrano, “Empanada Guy,” the delicious shaped half-moon empanadas are fried or baked turnovers stuffed with meat or veggies that adopt different shapes and names all over the world.

“Empanadas are thought to have originated in Galicia, Spain. However, you will find that they are made by different cultures and go by various names,” Carlos said. Some of the names are Meat Pies (American), Empanadas (Latin Spanish), Pastelillos (Latin/Spanish), Pastelitos (Latin/Spanish), Empanadillas (Latin/Spanish), and Beef Patties (Jamaica) or Pate (Haitian Creole)​, Pastel (Portuguese) or ​Pastel de Forno (Brazilian).


Empanadas |

Born and raised in Newark, NJ, and of Puerto Rican origin, Carlos began his empanada business in the garage of his house and now he manages a multimillion dollar company with nine food trucks, a restaurant and two mall shops. Although empanadas are the main theme in his menus, other tasty Caribbean and Latino dishes are offered at his locations.

Carlos signature empanadas like the lobster empanada, the pulled pork empanada or the sweet apple cinnamon empanada have made him the fastest-growing gourmet food truck company in the country. “I started six years ago with $40 in my pocket and became a national TV spoke person with a national campaign to make empanadas known in every corner of this country and beyond,” Carlos said to

Carlos believes there are no secrets to success in America. “It all depends on how bad you want it, how emotionally committed you are to your success,” he said. “You can’t have a sense of entitlement, if you work hard and overcome the obstacles there is a reward,” he shared.


Carlos Serrano, owner and founder, Empanada Guy

“We make a lot of excuses, and we don’t realize that sometimes dreams and fantasies are different things. Don’t blame your culture or your parents and quit negative people around you –my grandmother used to say ‘dime con quien andas y te diré quien eres,’ and she was right!”

His passion for cooking comes in part from his “Mama.” Carlos lived with his grandmother in Puerto Rico for some time when he was a teenager. “She was amazing in the kitchen. She did everything from scratch,” he said. “She taught me stability and work ethics, and to get up early, do your job, stop complaining, and do the right thing.”

His notoriety started in 2013, when he won Lifetime’s “Supermarket Superstar,” and was invited to participate in the Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay.”

Carlos success has also been the result of his active social media engagement, and a great connection with his customers. He started in MySpace many years ago and now has 19K followers on his Facebook page.

Tired of making empanadas, Hipatia Lopez revolutionized the empanada world

The story for Hipatia Lopez, one of the 0.3 percent Latina inventors in the country, started on the day before Christmas. “My family and I were making over 100 empanadas for the family gathering and my hands were getting tired of making the repulgue,” she said –the border to seal the empanada so the stuffing does not get loose in the frying process.


Hipatia Lopez, inventor of the Empanada Fork


Hipatia thought, “There must be a better way to do this.” Well, there was and Hipatia designed and launched a kitchen utensil known now as the “empanada fork” that allows you to make empanadas at a light speed.

Long story short, Hipatia won last year the national contest for Project American Dreams, a national initiative by Latina entrepreneur Lili Gil Valetta and Home Shopping Network (HSN) sponsored by USBank. After several awards and recognitions for her tool, Hipatia was on her way to showing her invention to 90 million homes in the USA!

“I show up in every occasion to promote my tool; I do contests, accelerators, competitions, any opportunity to get out there and talk about my product,” she said. “Most small startups are afraid of showing up or networking but that is the only and best way to get your product known,” she shared.


Hipatia Lopez at Project American Dreams

Hipatia is also an active social media influencer in several platforms where you can follow her under “@empanadafork.” She is now determined to encourage other women become patented inventors. “There is a very small number of Latina inventors and probably not because of lack of ideas but mostly because they do not know how to handle the patent process. I will be happy to talk to anyone who contacts me on social media to help them achieve their dreams,” she said.

Carlos Serrano and Hipatia Lopez will share how they became successful business owners, empanadastheir struggles and their achievement on July 18 at he Feria de Negocios Hispanos de New Jersey. Attendance is free but you must register here.

Alborada Spanish Dance Theater at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey

Join the Alborada Spanish Dance Theater for its 20th Anniversary Concert


Alborada Spanish Dance Theater at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey

Alborada Spanish Dance Theater at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey

Join the Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre in New Jersey to celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a concert taking place on Friday, September 25 at 7:30 at the Crossroads Theatre, 7 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick.

Eva Lucena, Executive Director (ED) and Artistic Director (AD), is a principal dancer, choreographer, well-known dance historian, and teacher. She has developed and staged many new full-stage dance productions for Alborada, which provides work for NJ-based artists as well as performers in the greater Tri-State area. She choreographs and trains the ensemble, and runs the business side of the company.

Alborada’s ED has led the non-profit organization since its incorporation in 1995. Eva’s personal and artistic career travels the world and across numerous ways of expression including spending her formative years among the Gypsies in the caves of Sacromonte in Granada, being a collaborating choreographer and soloist for The Sebastian Castro Dance Company in New York, and the principal dancer for the Spanish Dance Theatre, formerly The María Alba Spanish Dance Company also in the Big Apple.

“The ‘María Alba Spanish Dance Theatre’ was the predecessor to Alborada and an integral part of the summer concerts at Jacobs Pillow in the 60’s and 70’s. María Alba was known to many aficionados as being the greatest exponent of the seguiriya and many other Spanish dance drama pieces including “Yerma” – a Garcia Lorca drama –, and the “Colombian Suite,” Claudia explains.

In 1979, the company was revitalized under the direction of María and Eva Lucena; the latter brought in a group of extraordinary new dancers and choreographers, including “Victorio” –Eva’s partner for many years. Eva and María – who passed away in 1992 –, strongly believed in bringing a broad perspective of Spanish culture and traditions to the community.

Alborada has a unique niche in that it explores the rich diversity and complexity of Spain’s interactions with other world cultures. Along the history of the Iberian Peninsula, the region has received influences from a number of traditions including Indian, Jewish, Latin American, Arabic, African-American, and Irish cultures. Their group productions include worldwide dancers, performers and musicians.

The concert promises to be an intoxicating tour of passion, art and performance by the talented members of the group. For tickets or more information, visit

Idania Woof Woof outside with dogs

Woof Woof Wouse barking loud at the #HispanicBusinessExpo2015

Idania with Bono on the Woof Woof Wouse Floor

Idania with Bono on the Woof Woof Wouse Floor


My total idol and sexiest Latino on earth –my take! – Marc Anthony –yes, I have a heart! – has been popular for saying “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Idania Escudero took this approach back in 2007 when she decided that caring for dogs and other pets was her call. The result? Woof Woof Wouse, a full-service dog hotel located in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.

“Our company offers day care, overnight and extended stay services for dogs of all breeds and sizes. This is not a typical kennel service because taking care of dogs is what we truly love to do,” said Idania to LIBizus.

With the dog care services they offer, Idania and Dayron Rendon, her Woof Woof partner, assure pet owners their dogs will never have to go into a kennel again.

Idania with Blu at Woof Woof

Idania with Blu at Woof Woof

“What sets us apart from other similar services is that we understand the stress that pets goes thru every time they need to stay in a new place. We minimize that stress by providing our dogs with a home environment. Pets are not kept in cages or restrained from roaming around. We offer lots of love in a big home with a backyard to play in. Because your pooch needs all our attention and care, we have limited capacity so planning your reservation with time is highly encouraged,” Idania said.

Idania, a veterinarian assistant and Dayron, a pet behavioral specialist, offer the most complete array of services for owners who are concerned about the well-being of their beloved creatures.

“Once a pet owner contact us for some type of stay –day care, overnight or extended–, we ‘meet and greet’ the pet to see the type of chemistry she or he has with Idania and I. We receive them in Woof Woof Wouse four-story home and large backyard where they can acclimate and become familiar with other pets,” Dayron explained.

In addition to a cage-free stay, Woof Woof Wouse offers veterinarian services in case the pet needs either emergency care or is on some sort of long term treatment; behavioral rehabilitation for those with separation anxiety or other sort of stressful behavior, and reinforcement of socialization habits among other dogs.

Idania Woof Woof outside with dogs

Idania at Woof Woof Wouse backyard with dogs

“Because this is a home environment, we do not have cameras for owners to monitor their loved ones but we do have an open house policy. We encourage them or any of their friends or relatives to visit their dogs at any time of day to see how they are doing and how we care for them. We also text owners pictures of their pet activities during the day so we have a close connections with all our clients,” Dayron continued.

Born in Jovellanos, Matanza, Cuba, Idania came with her parents to the USA in 1968 barely after she had blown her first candle.  She lived in Miami for 12 years but ended coming back to New Jersey to care for her aging parents. At that time, she realized she needed to combine her love for pets and a business idea that would allow her to stay at home.

Daryon holding Duke at Woof Woof

Dayron holding Duke at Woof Woof

Dayron is also of Cuban descend from Corralillo, Villa Clara, but he made it to the USA in 2004 through the visa lottery. His love for animals of all sorts made him the appropriate partner for Idania’s pet idea and Woof Woof Wouse was born.

“This year, we were lucky to meet Luis O De la Hoz, from the Hispanic Business Expo, and decided to participate in the event at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ. We are proud of our venture and believe we need to show that Hispanos are innovative and proactive at creating businesses. This is a home business that allows us to enjoy what we love most doing and making a living,” Idania said.

The partners are already planning to franchise their business venture, and in the process of completing all legalities. The unique franchise will promote a different approach in many ways such as cage free, restrained free, chemical-free environment for maximum dog safety and happiness.

“We would like to attract a network of clients and their friends and family that not only trust us with their pets but also trust us in business,” Dayron said. “Please stop at our table at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey to inquiry about your pet’s stay and we will be happy to include you in our Woof Woof Wouse family,” Idania concluded.


Eliana Murillo at Hispanicize Week 2013

Eliana Murillo keynote speaker at 5th Annual Hispanic Business Expo MCRCC

Eliana Murillo at Hispanicize Week 2013

Eliana Murillo at Hispanicize Week 2013

Eliana Murillo, head of multicultural marketing at Google, Inc., will be the keynote speaker at the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce (MCRCC) 5th Annual Hispanic Business Expo – Feria de Negocios Hispanos del Centro de Nueva Jersey. The Expo will take place on Tuesday, July 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Pines Manor, 2085 Lincoln Highway (Route 27 South) in Edison, NJ.

“We are extremely pleased that Eliana has accepted our invitation to address this year’s Hispanic Business Expo, especially because this is our fifth year organizing this event, which has grown year after year,” said Luis O De La Hoz, Chair of the Hispanic Business Council at the MCRCC. “Eliana brings her experience at Google in cross-product strategy and diversity program development designed to attract and support multicultural users and business owners,” he said.

Eliana Murillo (center) with friends Luis O De la Hoz (MCRCC), Tayde Aburto, (HECC), Carlos Medina (SHCCNJ), Frank Garcia (NYSCHC) and Reina Valenzuela.

Eliana Murillo (center) with friends Luis O De la Hoz (MCRCC), Tayde Aburto, (HECC), Carlos Medina (SHCCNJ), Frank Garcia (NYSCHC) and Reina Valenzuela.

Eliana has been very active in creating technology-based programs that support entrepreneurship, education, and civic responsibility. She started as an intern and scale her way up as a Diversity Business Development analyst, in which role she saw the need to create strategies to engage diverse small businesses.

A Harvard graduate, where she obtained a Bachelors in Sociology and Economics, she was well-known for her active participation in founding the Latino Business Connection at the Ivy League institution, and the initiator of the Latina Empowerment and Development Conference (LEAD). She also studied international business at the University of Nicosia in Cyprus.

Originally from Oxnard, California, she has been featured in several publications such as Fast Company, Fortune, CNN Money, Latina Magazine, Latin Trends, American Latino Magazine and has been awarded profusely by Poder 360° as 20 under 40 Latinos Going Places in 2013 and LatinTrends 2013 Trendsetter. Also, she was recognized in the “Top 10 More Must Follow Prolific Latinos” list on Twitter in 2012 by VistaHispano.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to meet Eliana! Please register for this FREE event.