Irene Hsieh is currently a FUSE Fellow working with Mayor Ashley Swearengin and the City of Fresno to develop investment partnerships needed to catalyze Fresno’s economic development and accelerate innovation throughout central California. Previously, she worked with early stage startup founders in the Bay Area to assess, develop, and secure funding. Irene also teaches workshops to demystify startup financing and empower entrepreneurs with tools to navigate a shorter path to financing. She has been an instructor for the entrepreneurship program at UC Berkeley Extension and at nontraditional education programs, such as General Assembly. Irene is a specialist in structured finance with over fifteen years of experience in asset backed financing across a range of industries including banking, energy and cleantech. She has experience with financing on the origination, structuring and negotiation side as well as on the asset management side. She has worked for companies ranging from the Fortune 100 to startups, including GE Capital, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS Investment Bank. Irene has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Environmental Science from Barnard College and a Master of International Affairs in International Economic Policy from Columbia University.
PROJECT: CATALYZING PUBLIC-PRIVATE FINANCING FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Entrepreneurs in Fresno are pioneering innovations in water conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy production and food processing. Despite these important innovations, businesses in Fresno struggle to attract the kinds of capital investments that are more prevalent in Silicon Valley. As a result, there are several projects with high potential to deliver social and economic returns that are waiting for sufficient capital to bring them to fruition. The Mayor of Fresno hired Irene to develop investment partnerships needed to catalyze Fresno’s economic development and accelerate innovation throughout the San Joaquin Valley.