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SCC and US SBA Open Work Site

March 17, 2021 by Cheri Anderson Hucks | SCC | 2021news

SCC and SBA joint efforts staff
From left: G. Michael Mikota, Ph.D., SCC president; Mike Forrester, SCC vice president of Economic Development; and with the Small Business Administration South Carolina District Office, Valerie Torstenson, outreach & marketing specialist; Gregg White, district director; and Michael Corp, deputy district director.

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SCC and the U.S. Small Business Administration South Carolina District Office celebrated the opening of the Spartanburg Alternative Work Site located at SCC's Spark Center SC on the Tyger River Campus in Duncan. This partnership and office location will increase awareness of SBA programs and services in the Upstate, positioning Valerie Torstenson, the new outreach marketing specialist, as a valuable community resource.

“SCC is the number one economic driver for wealth development per capita income growth in the Upstate SC so it makes sense that we partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration and welcome them to the Upstate, to the Spark Center and Tyger River Campus, which is the site of tremendous economic development growth and success,” explains G. Michael Mikota, president of Spartanburg Community College. “Ultimately our students have the opportunity to move mountains through their educational career but this partnership is a way for us to sustain the entrepreneurial needs of our students and our residents seeking loans in order to grow and invest in themselves. When individuals grow and invest in themselves, it has an impact on all lives and makes our communities stronger. Through our sustained relationship with SBA to support our students and our residents, we will further help and develop individual lives through our teaching and learning in the classroom, but also beyond the classroom experience through economic development as well.

Mikota adds, "Ultimately we have been tremendously successful with the Spark Center and Tyger River Campus continuously looking at opportunities for what our future success will be. But, if we do not tackle the opportunity for equitable recovery during this pandemic, then we will not grow as fast as we want to, and we all want SC to continue to explode and have successes both in big manufacturing opportunities and small business. That is the name of the game - small business association, prosperity and growth. The SBA is here to drive that opportunity, and we are very excited about our partnership.”

"We are excited to partner with the Spartanburg Community College in the opening of our new location," said Gregg White, South Carolina District director. "We have coverage along the coast and in the Midlands, but never had full coverage in the Upstate until now. This area has experienced major growth in lending, manufacturing, and economic development, and it was time to have an SBA location here. Valerie will be a great addition to the SBA team and we look forward to working with her and SCC."

Valerie Torstenson is the new outreach and marketing specialist for the Spartanburg AWS. Torstenson served as a business opportunity specialist with the SBA’s Office of Business Development, Office of Certification and Eligibility, where she contributed to developing policy. She also served as a business opportunity specialist in the Baltimore District Office, maintaining a sizeable portfolio of clients, outreach, and was a resource for 8(a), Hubzone, women-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses. As an outreach and marketing specialist, Torstenson will work with lenders, procurement agencies, small businesses, and community organizations to expand access to capital, federal contracting opportunities, and counseling assistance for small businesses in the Upstate.

A primary resource for business development at Spartanburg Community College and throughout Spartanburg County, the Spark Center SC is a state-of-the-art center designed to assist entrepreneurs and businesses launch, build, expand and reorganize. Located in a foreign trade zone along the I-85 Corridor on Highway 290 in Duncan, the Spark is on the SCC Tyger River Campus which is a designated enterprise campus. Providing clients of new or expanding businesses with a critical asset – space – the Spark includes more than 363,000 square feet of space allowing design flexibility to meet the individual needs of clients. In exchange for services provided, business clients consent to locate their permanent facility in Spartanburg County. Since its 2005 inception, the Spark Center has been an active leader and partner in workforce development and economic growth partnerships with many organizations and agencies, resulting in serving 113 companies from across the globe. In addition, the Spark has helped to create 44,179 jobs, $155 million combined tax revenue, and $2.9 billion in earnings. True to its name, the Spark Center SC is an invaluable Upstate asset, successfully connecting, igniting and launching hundreds of entrepreneurs and businesses since 2005.

To contact the Spartanburg AWS, please email, or visit

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