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Barbara Arena of Granite State Development Named Financial Services Champion of the Year

Tireless advocate, finance structuring mentor and SBA subject matter expert
Release Date: 
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Release Number: 
Contact:, 617-565-8510

BOSTON – The Small Business Administration (SBA) has named Barbara Arena, Vice President of Granite State Development Corporation, the 2019 Financial Services Champion of the Year for Massachusetts.

Arena earned the recognition for over 30 years of experience working with SBA programs as a 504 financing expert and an advocate for small businesses.  Granite State Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit lender authorized to process and service Small Business Administration loans utilizing the 504 lending program.  GSEDC is one of the largest CDCs nationwide, ranked #5 (as of FYE 2018) for volume and dollars; and has been recognized as the most active 504 lender in New England for at least the last 10 years.

It is a pleasure to recognize Barbara for being an advocate and true champion for small businesses,” said SBA Massachusetts District Director, Robert Nelson. “Her knowledge and experience is often called upon by lenders inside and outside of Granite State’s network for structuring assistance and eligibility guidance.  Barbara is an invaluable resource to the New England region.”

As an SBA financing industry expert, Arena has been an active member of National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and National Association of Development Companies through the years, advocating on a national level on Capitol Hill to ensure the health of the 7(a) and 504 programs delivering capital to small businesses.

 “I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the SBA and thankful to the mentors who have encouraged and supported me throughout my career,” said Vice President, Barbara Arena.   “It is incredibly rewarding to guide entrepreneurs through the SBA programs in the most effective and expeditious manner possible.  These programs provide owner operators the ability to control their own destiny and help realize the American dream!  I couldn’t have asked for, or dreamed of, a more fulfilling career.

Arena is a supporter of several business networks and advocacy efforts, and works with state representatives to address local legislative and regulatory issues facing small businesses. Arena is a founding member of the Hanson Business Network, formed to increase economic development and business growth in the town of Hanson.  Regionally, she is also a board member of the New England Business Brokers Association and Realtor’s Commercial Alliance of MA, organizations active in enhancing business and real estate acquisitions and affecting impact on legislation of same.

The Financial Services Champion of the Year award is presented annually to an economic development practitioner who advocates on behalf of small business interests and helps deliver significant contributions to the small business community.  Arena was nominated for the award by George Andreaus, Senior Vice President of Evolve Bank.

Arena will be honored at the annual SCORE Boston / SBA awards luncheon along with other 2019 Massachusetts Small Business Week winners at Assumption College on Wednesday, May 8th, 2019.






About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit