Roberto Barragan launches Aquaria Funding Solutions
Roberto Barragan, former CEO of VEDC (Valley Economic Development Center) has formed Aquaria Funding Solutions to serve as a consulting firm specializing in advising on CDFI formation and fundraising, assisting cities and financial institutions in creating small business programs to boost economic development and working directly with small businesses.
Roberto has assembled a team of experienced CDFI professionals with over 100 years of combined experience, the team has the capacity and expertise to lead the formation of new CDFIs, assist existing CDFIs with fund development and the intricacies of small business and microlending. They are uniquely capable of formulating Community Reinvestment solutions for government entities, e.g., cities, and financial institutions. Aquaria Funding Solutions also works directly with small business owners to provide access to capital, including providing direct lending to micro and small businesses who cannot find needed funds elsewhere.
“Over the past 14 months, it has become apparent that the unmet demand for small business lending has not abated, and that the need for more CDFI and CRA responsive small lending is even more critical than ever,” said Roberto Barragan, founder of Aquaria Funding Solutions. Barragan led the VEDC to national prominence as a highly regarded and industry leading small business lender originating $25 million annually in small business loans to minority borrowers.
Under his leadership and innovation, the VEDC increased its assets from $10 to $70 million and between 2010 and 2016, lent almost $100 million to women and minority business owners, launched numerous business programs including Business Opportunity Funds in Chicago and New York, the Pacoima Development Federal Credit Union, the National African American Small Business Loan Fund, the Women’s Small Business Risk Mitigation program, the National Micro Finance Fund, and many others. Its partnerships with financial institutions and corporations have redefined how African American and Latino entrepreneurs can access capital.
Barragan expanded VEDC’s portfolio to include loan funds in Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City, Miami and the New York Tri-State area. His commitment to diverse communities is evidenced by the $13 million he lent to African American communities and $35 million lent to Latino businesses in the last 10 years. Under his direction and leadership during a 21-year career at VEDC, he helped thousands of businesses succeed while raising over $100 million in loan capital and operating grants.
Mr. Barragan served as a founding Board Director of the California United Bank which recently was sold after having reached $3 billion in assets. Mr. Barragan is also the founder of the Golden State Financial Development Corporation, an SBA 504 lender headquartered in Los Angeles County. In 2005, he founded the Pacoima Development Federal Credit Union by raising $2 million in deposits, $500,000 in capital and securing a charter from the National Credit Union Association.
He currently serves as the Chair of the Federal Board of Governors Community Advisory Council. He has over 30 years of experience managing non-profit organizations, including the last twenty involved in small business and nonprofit lending and technical assistance to for-profit and non-profit entities. He is accomplished in fundraising and strategy development. Mr. Barragan is a nationally recognized expert on loan funds and microlending and is a regular lecturer and media expert on these subjects.
Mr. Barragan has a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and studied Marketing and Real Estate financing at the University of California, Berkeley, Hass School of Business Administration.
For more information about Aquaria Funding Solutions consulting services and fundraising experience, please visit www.aquariafundingsolutions.com.
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