Manuel Barreiro Castañeda, Founder & Chairman, Aston Group and Founder, Aston Barreiro-Ugalde Foundation

Manuel Barreiro Castañeda is the founder and chairman of the Aston Group, a private equity firm with 1 billion investments to date, that develops real estate projects as well as private equity placements with a focus on the North American and European continents. He is a strategic leader with over 20 years of experience in international real estate and a long history of success advising public and private sector stakeholders on the intersection between technology, sustainability, mobility, and smart cities. Manuel leverages his extensive experience and background to ensure that all real estate projects are aimed at benefitting the local community by improving the quality of life, reducing inequality gaps, and positively impacting the environment. Passionate about empowering the younger generations through entrepreneurship, he has supported and coached both as an investor and mentored several young emerging technology entrepreneurs, enabling them to rapidly transform ideas into world-changing companies. Manuel holds an Executive Master’s degree (MSc) in Cities from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE), where he had the opportunity to develop further his knowledge in sustainable urban development, mobility, and water management to improve the quality of life in large cities and small urban areas. This degree also sparked his interest in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT),  which are the focus of projects in the near future. He also holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business and a Bachelor’s in international business at Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, where he completed academic exchange programs at higher learning institutions in  Japan and Argentina.


Education should be a human right, but for many, it is a dream. These are some of the realities in many cities of Mexico, where children are struggling to complete their education due to lack of access, poverty, or other difficulties.  

Therefore, as a philanthropist, I decided to take action and tackle this key issue by creating the Aston Barreiro-Ugalde Foundation. The mission of the Foundation is to spread awareness and the importance of providing accessible education to children in Mexico. The foundation is committed to improving the quality of life of  Mexicans by conceptualizing and implementing powerful knowledge-based tools and systems. 

Given today’s environmental and mobility concerns, we aim to internally develop various urban sustainability projects aimed at helping youth and the elderly to integrate better into a social and urban context. This is achieved by providing public spaces designed to decrease insecurity in the areas concerned and provide social and sports opportunities for the community to come together and develop further. 

I believe that accessibility in education helps create better opportunities for the next generations. Therefore, we need to focus on supporting other key not-for-profits such as “Fondo para la Paz”; a non-profit development agency founded in 1994 that promotes the well-being of rural communities, primarily indigenous, that live in extreme poverty through collaborative, inclusive, and sustainable projects. The financial aid from the foundation is aimed at supporting children’s access to education in some rural regions of Mexico, such as Oaxaca, Campeche, and San Luis  Potosi. This would be achieved by constructing schools and educational facilities to give children in the area access to education. 

To further reduce the educational inequalities in these locations, the Aston Barreiro Ugalde Foundation is committed to removing the barriers to learning by sponsoring the professional training of teachers to improve their academic level even further, help them design the correct strategies, and aid in the development of suitable teaching styles to meet the needs of their learners. Moreover, through a system of scholarships, the foundation offers direct support and assistance to low-income, exceptionally talented children who aim to complete a higher degree. 

Have you ever thought about how many children’s talents are being undermined and failing due to inadequate resources or the inaccessibility of the necessary means? 

We cannot do this alone, so partnerships and engagement regionally and globally are at the heart of our work! We invite potential partners to join us in this noble mission by  contacting us at: [email protected] 

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