Leading entertainment and lifestyle retailer, HSN, has teamed up with award-winning entrepreneur and creator of Dreamers Ventures, Liliana "Lili" Gil Valletta , to launch Project American Dreams, a great opportunity for Latino entrepreneurs. Lili is the CEO and Co-Founder of XL Alliance, a multicultural cross-channel marketing firm.
Expanding on HSN's existing American Dreams initiative – a program designed to cultivate entrepreneurs and introduce innovative new products to the marketplace – Project American Dreams will be a business competition to discover, mentor and fast-track the launch of product innovations created by Latino entrepreneurs on HSN.
Prospective entrepreneurs can submit their products online for review via projectamericandreams.com from September 30 to December 9, 2016. Up to twenty products will be selected as semifinalists for judges to review at the HSN studios, and up to five winners will be selected to introduce their brand live -reaching approximately 94 million households in the spring of 2017.
"HSN has a rich history of supporting entrepreneurs and introducing their products to the marketplace," said Bill Brand, President of HSN. "Building on the success of our existing American Dreams series, we are looking forward to extending our reach, while leveraging Dreamers Ventures' incredible network to discover innovative new products through Project American Dreams."
As an immigrant, entrepreneur and the first Hispanic partner to HSN's American Dreams initiative, Gil Valletta was inspired by the need to create a business competition and platform that will help fill the gaps in access, opportunity and wealth many Hispanic entrepreneurs face. Lili has experienced first-hand what it takes to launch a business, have to innovate and break barriers in the American marketplace. In that journey, and as a passionate advocate for "all things Latino" she was shocked to learn the statistics about Latino entrepreneurship.
"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," Gil Valletta said . "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.
This one-of-a-kind alliance includes best-selling author and "TV's Billion Dollar Man" Bob Circosta , a pioneer of the multi-billion dollar live television shopping industry; and Latino business organizations like Access Latina- a non-profit that offers capital resources, access to networks and mentoring for Latinas. In addition to personalized coaching and the chance to gain mass-market distribution on HSN, qualified winners will receive a scholarship to attend the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurs Leaders Program, where Gil Valletta serves as a business mentor.
As a national leader in providing innovative programs and financial services to Hispanics, U.S. Bank supports Project American Dreams as a partner to educate, empower and offer access to capital for Hispanic business owners.
"Entrepreneurs bring a passion and spirit to their work that has driven our economy for generations," said Kate Quinn , executive vice president, and chief strategy and reputation officer at U.S. Bank. "U.S. Bank is pleased to embrace that spirit by supporting new Hispanic businesses in partnership with HSN and Project American Dreams. We look forward to helping these entrepreneurs turn their dreams into new possibilities for future business."
The competition was first publicly announced during the 2016 Prospanica Conference & Career Expo in Houston, Texas , where over 2,500 Hispanic professionals from around the country gathered for leadership development and career advancement. "We are honored to have been chosen as Project American Dreams' announcement platform," commented Thomas Savino , CEO of Prospanica. "Partnering with this initiative is a win on all fronts as our organization works to empower Hispanic professionals achieve their full economic potential."
Inventors can submit their product now through December 9th, 2016 by visiting ProjectAmericanDreams.com and following the submission instructions.