Empanada Fork seals the deal with new products by Latina entrepreneur Hipatia Lopez

empanada fork Hipatia LopezThe Empanada Fork Utensil aka, “The Empanada Fork Press Tool and The Empanada Fork Pastry Sealer”, is a utensil that is easy, effortless, fast, painless and resulting in beautiful dough design for those whom cherish in food presentations.

Making empanadas, turnovers, calzones and other filled pastries is a lot of fun, but it can also be very time consuming and painful when it comes to sealing the dough/pockets/pastries, etc, which was how the idea was born. The Empanada Fork Utensil made of stainless steel with a soft handle which makes it easy to use. This innovative product is a special design with fork-tines and a sturdy utensil which is a great addition to any kitchen.

The Empanada Fork Press Tool seals your empanadas without using the old technique of the regular standard fork. Just push down on your pastry and “boom”, turnover for another seal (if needed, depending on texture of dough) and a complete seal in 2 seconds, next…

This year we launched a new addition to our “Empanada Fork Utensil” family, “The Empanada Stampers!” This new product is a tool to stamp the empanada dough to identify the filling inside the dough: cheese, beef, veggie and chicken. So now you can entertain an abundance of different empanada varieties without the worry about how your guest will know what filling it is. Also great tool for those who have food preferences and dietary constrains. The empanada fork Hipatia Lopezstampers will work well on both size forks, regular and large.

empanada fork Hipatia Lopez

Cooked empanadas pressed with the new utensils, great for people with food preferences or dietary constraints.

Fans here you go…, I am delivering my promise.

So we have come a long way and now you can enjoy making and eating empanadas with any filling, with a complete seal, a choice of a size along with the description stamped for the identification of the filling and will be great display for entertaining.



Empanadas can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They can be served as appetizers or snacks and they can easily make a full and satisfying meal. Lets not forget the sweet side of filling, the desserts. Use the Empanada Fork Utensil today and relish extraordinary experiences while making your tasty empanadas.

I say these products definitely “seal” the deal. The Empanada Fork Utensil by H.L. Unico LLC was invented and patented by Hipatia Lopez.

Follow Hipatia Lopez in these Social Media Outlets:  IG @Empanadafork; FB @Empanadaforkutensil, Twitter @Empanadafork

pitch competition

Hipatia Lopez winner of 2016 Pitch Competition invites you to Be a Star for One Night!

Pitch Competition is here! This is an INVITATION to all Latina entrepreneurs and small biz owners that live or do businesses in the Northeast region (New Jersey, New York, Southern Connecticut and Eastern Pennsylvania and Philadelphia).


Yes, we are now on full speed for our 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo and Pitch your Biz Competition!  We invite all Latinas with products, services or a cause to be part of this fabulous event to take place at the Campus Center Atrium of NJIT (150 Bleeker St) in Newark NJ 07102 on NOVEMBER 9, 2017 from 4:00 to 9:0 pm.

Watch Hipatia Lopez, inventor of the Empanada Fork and winner of our 2016 Pitch your Business Competition invite you to be part of this important event!

What you need to know about the Pitch Competition:

1 . Pitch Competition: Ten (10) participants will have the opportunity to present a 3-minute pitch to a Panel of Media Jurors. (ONLY 6 places left! ) *

The Media Jurors will choose the best story to be promoted on all participating media including:

  • Univision 41 (Tri-state area)
  • Abasto Magazine (national)
  • Latin Trends (New Jersey / New York)
  • Latino Magazine and La Razon Newspaper (Eastern Pennsylvania)
  • Omnikal (national)
  • Vivala. com (national)
  • Latino Motion (Southern NJ and Philadelphia)
  • Social Vibes Media (Tristate)
  • Americano Newspaper (New Jersey/Pennsylvania)

2. You will have the opportunity to win:

  • $1000 Cash Price (first place)
  • Gifts for all participants
  • Free promotion on media and social media
  • An opportunity to work with a matching sponsor
  • An opportunity to run a crowdfunding campaign to fund your business
  • An Exhibitor’s Table to sell your products to all expected attendees (300 to 500)
  • and much, much more!

3. You will have the option to prepare your pitch with a Business and Public Speaking Coach (optional and at extra cost)

4. A VIP Reception with all Sponsors and Supporters of the event, Media Panel and photo/video opportunities.

So don’t wait! Register NOW for the opportunity of your lifetime!

Latina Pitch and Exhibitor Table: $150 (You will receive 15 tickets ($10/each) to sell to your friends and family)

Latina Table only: $100  (You will receive 10 tickets ($10/each) to sell to your friends and family)


So far, we have the support of the following organizations:

  • New Jersey Institute of Technology Enterprise Development Center (EDC) -an umbrella for 20 business organizations
  • Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey
  • Newark Community Economic Development Corporation and Office of Newark’s Mayor
  • NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA)
  • UCEDC New Jersey
  • IFundWomen (crowfunding)
  • Rising Tide Capital
  • Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey
  • Starfish Global
  • NYC LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce
  • Hispanic Leadership Association
  • Red Shoe Movement
  • Multiple regional chambers and organizations

We expect 40 to 50 vendors and exhibitors so don’t delay, as tables are selling fast!

We invite you to participate in this very unique event! Non-Hispanic vendors welcome!

*Only Latina businesses can participate at the Pitch Competition.


Thanks to all our Supporters and Sponsors!

Pitch Competition


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.

Latina entrepreneurs

Latina entrepreneurs shine at Best Business Awards

Our Latina entrepreneurs Hipatia Lopez, Jennagloria Pacheco, Nelly Reyes, Maggie Mondragon Cassera, Lu Camarena Meshulam and Luvia Susana Salazar were the bright spot of the amazing Best Business Awards at Son Cubano in West New York.

Latina entrepreneurs

Despite pouring rain, 72 of the 104 registered guests showed up to support and cheer for our amazing Business Pitch competitors. Thanks to our Media Panel, Vicky Llerena, Social Vibes Media; Sylvia Jauregui, Jersey Bound Latino; Angel Vazquez Rivera, Univision Communications, and Lili Gil Valetta, Dreamers Ventures.

Thanks to our sponsors including Gold Sponsor Wells Fargo, Silver Sponsor Marketing Out the Box, Bronze Sponsors Herbalife Nutrition and Access Latina, and all our Supporters that shared this beautiful event with us!

Our friends at Son Cubano -gracias Eddy Duran- for your support to our Latina entrepreneurs! And many more events!

To our Awardees, Luis O De la Hoz, Cristina Abreu, Shop con Calma, Rosa M Mollo, and Carolina E Robles, thank you for your constant support and great exposure to our platform!

To all people who contributed to make this event a bright night: Marcela Zuchoviki, Trinidad de la Rosa, Wendy C Perez, our MC, Jason Furbert and Luciano Catelli, our techie guys, volunteers Juan Carlos Grajeda, Meej Chaparro-Traverso, Tula Alcocer and Adriana Penagos. Without you, our event would not have been this success!

Thanks to all for their support and participation!



Hipatia Lopez partipates at 2015 SBM Summit

Empanada Fork selected to the Small Business Leadership Summit in D.C.

Hipatia Lopez, inventor of Empanada Fork, participates at 2015 SBM Summit

Hipatia Lopez, inventor of Empanada Fork, participates at 2015 Small Business Majority Summit

Hipatia Lopez, founder and owner of HL Unico LLC and inventor of the ethnic kitchen tool Empanada Fork, was selected as one of 100+ small business leaders from across the country to meet with policymakers, issue experts and senior members of the Obama Administration. The focus of the summit involved identifying policies to help small businesses thrive at the Small Business Majority’s inaugural Small Business Leadership Summit.

“I traveled to Washington D.C. to talk with policymakers and senior members of the Obama Administration about the top barriers to success entrepreneurs and small business owners face, and identify practical solutions to our everyday problems. The experience was extraordinary,” Hipatia shared with LIBizus.

Panel discussions, keynote speeches, interactive workshops and presentations featured top policymakers at the National Press Club and the White House. Small business leaders heard from Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and top economic advisors to the President.

Maria Contreras Sweet at the Small Business Majority Summitt 2015

Maria Contreras Sweet at the Small Business Majority Summitt 2015

“As an active member of the New Jersey small business community, I was honored to be selected to attend the three-day Small Business Leadership Summit, hosted by Small Business Majority,” Hipatia said. “Some of the issues we discussed were related to the gap between Internet-based companies and small “mortar and brick” business owners who feel they are getting the short end of the stick in tax issues,” she shared.

Other interactive areas of discussion focused on key issue such as problems accessing capital, tax and economic policies, crowdfunding, women’s entrepreneurship, minority entrepreneurship, the freelance/microenterprise economy, technology and workforce issues.

“We heard from the head of the Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet and several members of Congress, and spoke with top economic advisors to the President to help them understand how important small businesses are to boosting the economy and creating jobs,” Hipatia said.

Policies identified during the three-day event will be incorporated into Small Business Majority’s policy platform—the Small Business Economic Agenda for 2015-16—and shared with decision makers to elevate issues of importance to small business owners.

Businesswoman of the Year Hipatia Lopez, H.L. Unico LLC

2014 Businesswoman of the Year Hipatia Lopez, H.L. Unico LLC, SHCC of NJ

Hipatia Lopez, the inventor of the “Empanada Fork,” an ethnic kitchen utensil that works as a pastry press, started her business around the kitchen table during the holiday season when her family was making 100 empanadas. “I remember complaining about how long this last step was taking.  I literally could not get this ‘idea’ out of my mind, envisioning how it would look,” she shared.

As many startups and small businesses, Empanada Fork encountered difficulties in obtaining access to capital, especially from traditional sources such as banks. “I obtained an equity line of credit with my house as collateral,” she said. However, now she needs additional funding to grow her business.

“During the three-day summit, progress was made, but more needs to be done. To instate policies we need to succeed—like greater access to capital and changes to the country’s tax code—we need more small business owners to speak out and get involved,” Hipatia said.

To voice your small business concerns, Hipatia encourages you to take Small Business Majority’s survey at:,

If you’d like to share your business story with LIBizus, please fill out this form and tell us about your business and products. We will post a FREE feature! (Certain restrictions apply. Limited time offer).

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]


social media icons

5 Most read articles on

social media iconsJust to start the year with the right foot –or the left one if you feel more power on that one, like many soccer players do-, I took the time to analyze what articles were doing best on our platform and why, so I can give you some tips on how to use our platform. Here are the winners:


  1. Modern Day Latinas have a story to tell on Merrick Park

The inspirational story of an accomplished Cuban-American entrepreneur, Aymee Zubizarreta, the idea and message behind the new series aims at changing the traditional image of Latinas in TV series and movies into who they really are: accomplished professionals, well-educated career driven and family oriented women having big dreams, facing and overcoming their challenges and most importantly, thriving on their own in a bicultural and bilingual world. She is now on the funding efforts stage, so we will continue to support her cause!

2. Empanada Fork makes a mark for Latina entrepreneur

Hipatia Lopez “idea” began around the kitchen table during the holiday season when her family was making 100 empanadas. She envisioned a tool that would help with closing the empanadas easily and quickly; found an architect who helped her with perfecting the drawings to make it come to life on paper and patent tool. From the kitchen table to main supermarket chains and wholesalers, for Hipatia the rest is history!

3. SHCC of NJ Awards Luncheon Photo Gallery

This fabulous annual event featured the who’s who in New Jersey Latino entrepreneurs, included awards, workshops and an exhibit floor with over 250 expositors. Well done, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and Carlos Medina, Prezi!

4. Talent and innovation at Latinas Think Big™ Summit

Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin, a top national influencer devoted to advancing and supporting Latina innovators, is leading Latinas Think Big™. Dr. Perez-Litwin’s intention is to bring to a national debate the disparities in Latinas’ career development in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), with an emphasis on technology, and to address the digital divide in this country. Congratulations, Angelica!

5. Monica Taher when crisis sets the path to financial freedom

Monica Taher, a Latina in business who defines herself as a serial entrepreneur, faced the turmoil of splitting with her lifetime partner in 2011. Today, she shares some tips on how she came back from the ashes and acquired financial freedom doing what she loves. Fabulous come back story, all the best to brave Monica!


All these articles were successful readers not only because of the value of their stories but also because the Latinas featured on them understood the value of the tool we provide and took the time and effort to share with their communities and social media. has been designed to provide a space, a window of opportunity, a platform for Latinas who want to share their concerns, expertise, strategies and achievements. We also want the site to be a productive possibility for those who would like to promote their product or service, attract customers to their businesses, learn about social media, give business advice or ask for business advice, be a “madrina,” become a minority vendor or find business to business trade opportunities. Thank you! Sign up for our exclusive newsletter

We will continue to do so by bringing excellent tools that you can use to promote your story, your business or your cause. Watch out, 2015, here we come!

SHCC of NJ Awards Luncheon Photo Gallery

Click on any picture to see wonderful moments of the 2014 Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Awards Luncheon!

Latinas in SM something to talk about at SHCCNJ


24th Annual Convention and Awards Luncheon SHCCNJ

An attendance of over 350 business people and more than 70 exhibitors made the 24th Annual Convention and Awards Luncheon of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ) once again a great success.

A full day of activities, workshops and exhibit expo included the presence of Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno, who talked to the needs of Hispanic businesses in New Jersey in a friendly and open address. “I will give you my cell number so you can call me and tell me how we can help you. You pay for it so you better take advantage of it,” she said to a cheering business audience.

She also announced that The Center for Hispanic Policy, Research and Development (CHPRD) recently approved a $85,000 grant for the SHCCNJ to provide technical assistance to small businesses in New Jersey.

Carlos Medina, President of the SHCCNJ, enhanced the economic power of Latinos in the Garden State. “We have 70K registered Latino businesses in New Jersey contributing 10 billion to the economy. We must acknowledge that Hispanic businesses continue to grow even during the last Great Recession, creating jobs and opportunities for millions of families and communities in the country,” he said.

Business Advocate of the Year Michellene Davis , Barnabas Healthcare System

Business Advocate of the Year Michellene Davis , Barnabas Healthcare System

Latina Trailblazer of the Year Vanessa Deleon, VDA Designs

Latina Trailblazer of the Year Vanessa Deleon, VDA Designs

Awardees for this year Annual Convention included Business Advocate of the Year Michellene Davis , Barnabas Healthcare System; Latina Trailblazer of the Year Vanessa Deleon, VDA Designs, Healthcare Advocate of the Year James R. Gonzalez, University Hospital; Businesswoman of the Year Hipatia Lopez, H.L. Unico LLC; Legislator of the Year Hon. Vincent Prieto, Speaker of the General Assembly; Attorney of the Year Anna Maria Tejada, Kaufman, Dolowich, Voluck; Business of the Year Carlos & Constance Vega, Jersey Italian Gravy, LLC; and Restaurant of the Year Juan Zaldivar, Lola Latin Bistro.

The highlight of the day was, however, the Latinas in Social Media panel, a team of six thought-provoking Latinas in business with a combined direct following of over 18K and hundreds of thousands of indirect followers. Reina Valenzuela, CEO Starfish Global; Jazlyn Carvajal, Latinas in STEM; Claudia Krusch,; Barbara Trujillo Gomez , B&B Fit, LLC; Hipatia Lopez, H.L. Unico LLC; and Susana G Baumann, Director

; Attorney of the Year Anna Maria Tejada, Kaufman, Dolowich,

; Attorney of the Year Anna Maria Tejada, Kaufman, Dolowich, Voluck

Businesswoman of the Year Hipatia Lopez, H.L. Unico LLC

Businesswoman of the Year Hipatia Lopez, H.L. Unico LLC

LCSWorldwide and Editor-in-Chief, provided an eager to learn audience some strategies, tips and guidance to grow their businesses through social media. The panel also invited the public to follow the presenters with their Twitter handles and grow their own following.

During the panel, SHCCNJ Board Member Luis O De la Hoz spoke to the audience about the importance of attending this type of events. “You have to show up! All of you that are here have now made contact with these wonderful Latinas in Social Media who will help you grow your business. Those who are not here have missed this great opportunity to network and meet people who would benefit their businesses,” he said.

Carlos Medina was grateful for this year great success, “Thank you all for making both the panel and the entire event such a success. I certainly felt a little extra energy and love in the room this year and many attendees expressed the same ‘vibe.’”

In case you missed the panel, here are the panelists Twitter handles:

Business of the Year Carlos & Constance Vega,

Business of the Year Carlos & Constance Vega, Jersey Italian Gravy, LLC

Moderator Claudia Krusch @ckrusch

Panelist Susana G Baumann @sbaumann342 @LIBizus,

Panelist Jazlyn Carvajal @LatinasinSTEM @jazcar03,

Panelist Hipatia Lopez @EmpanadaFork,

Panelist Barbara Trujillo-Gomez @BarbaraTGomez,

Panelist Reina Valenzuela @Soylamar,

Organizer Luis O De la Hoz @LuisODLH @FNHCNJ

Latina Entrepreneurs in Social Media Panel (L to R) R. Valenzuela, J.Carvajal, SG Baumann, C. Krush, B. Gomez-Trujillo, H. Lopez

Latina Entrepreneurs in Social Media Panel (L to R) R. Valenzuela, J.Carvajal, SG Baumann, C. Krusch, B. Trujillo Gomez, H. Lopez

Empanada Fork booth

Empanada Fork makes a mark for Latina entrepreneurs

Hipatia Lopez with Empanada Fork

Hipatia Lopez with Empanada Fork

By Hipatia Lopez

Hola, my name is Hipatia Lopez! I’m the inventor of a kitchen utensil that works as a pastry press known as the “Empanada Fork.”

Empanada Fork? Yes, because it makes “fork like” impressions on the dough to seal the edges. Fabulous!

My “idea” began around the kitchen table during the holiday season when my family and I were making 100 empanadas. I remember complaining about how long this last step was taking.   I literally could not get this “idea” out of my mind and envisioning how it would look. I found an architect who helped me with perfecting the drawings to make it come to life on paper. I decided to go forward and began the patent process, which took about one year for the approval.

Once I got my first shipment of the “Empanada Fork” utensil, I started contacting anybody that would listen to me. Of course I had some bumps in the road but once I got past my first rejection then I felt unstoppable!

I got contacted by a QVC broker who wanted to enter my product in an inventor’s contest. I was grateful to be part of that experience and having QVC as an avenue for my product was amazing to me. It has helped me a great deal, especially since I am a startup and have limited funds for advertising. I believe anything in life is attainable but you have to work for it.

My product is now sold through online stores such as QVC, Uncommongoods, and Mexgrocer. It is also available in stores over at LEBRON Restaurant Equipment & Supplies in NYC and Kerekes Bakery & Restaurant Equipment in Brooklyn, NY.Fork_dough_New

If you are thinking of starting your own business or would like to know more about the process of how I did it, I encourage you to contact me!

Also, if you’d like to carry my product in your business or use it for your business, you can request an order by visiting

Twitter: @Empanadafork

Facebook: Empanadaforkutensil


Did you like this story? Would you like to be featured on with a FREE PROMO? Contact and tell me about your business, products or cause! (Limited time offer.)


[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]