Alejandro Manzanares is a Senior Program Manager at the Aspen Institute’s Latinos and Society Program, where he manages a new initiative on supporting the recovery and growth of Latino-owned businesses in Latino-majority cities and/or communities.
Prior to joining the Aspen Institute, Alejandro worked as a Program Manager at the National League of Cities, where he helped build and transformed the City Innovation Ecosystems commitment program from a pilot program, into what is now a successful established and national program with secured multi-year 7 figure digit funding. The program asks Mayors & city economic development staff across the country to identify roadblocks to innovation, entrepreneurship and STEM education, and partner with companies, national entrepreneurial support organizations (ESO’s), universities, foundations and entrepreneurs to commit to equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem building solutions. Alejandro has been personally responsible for awarding almost $3MM in pass-through grants to over 100 cities and non-profits on behalf of cities to support national ecosystem building efforts.
Prior to joining NLC, Alejandro supported the launch and worked as a Senior Associate and Co-Founding member for the 32nd global Endeavor office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a global non-profit organization focused on transforming emerging markets economies by identifying and supporting high impact entrepreneurs. Prior to Endeavor, Alejandro worked as a management consultant serving the public sector at V2A, a boutique strategic consulting firm based in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
While completing his master’s degree in Boston, MA, Alejandro founded a civic advocacy movement around issues of social and economic justice that affect the residents of Puerto Rico, called Stand Up for Puerto Rico, which led him to participate in several committees and working groups in Washington, DC, New York and Massachusetts. Prior leadership experiences include serving as a Board Member for the Center for Research and Public Policy in Puerto Rico (CRPP), CRPP Developed Puerto Rico’s only Civic Open Data Portal; Puerto Rico’s first campaign contributions portal; and Puerto Rico’s first Municipal Fiscal Health Index. Alejandro has also been selected as a Global Shaper, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, a HIVE Global Leaders Participant, and a Starting Bloc Social Innovation Fellow.
Alejandro has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Northeastern University in Boston, with a focus on urban affairs, and has a BA in Business Administration from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, and holds a Management Certificate from the Harvard Business School Online.