SBA Alternative Work Site opens at Spartanburg Community College

March 17, 2021

The U.S. Small Business Administration South Carolina District Office celebrated the grand opening of the Spartanburg Alternative Work Site (AWS), located at the Spartanburg Community College (SCC) Spark Center. The new location will increase awareness of SBA programs and services in the Upstate.

Michael Mikota, Ph.D., President, SCC; Mike Forrester, VP of Economic Development, SCC; Valerie Torstenson, Outreach & Marketing Specialist, SBA; Gregg White, District Director, SBA; Michael Corp, Deputy District Director, SBA

“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 will be the 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.

“SCC is the number one economic driver for wealth development per capita income growth in the Upstate, so it makes sense that we partner with the SBA and welcome them 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. 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.”

To contact the Spartanburg AWS, please email [email protected], or visit


About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. 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, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

About the Spark Center SC

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 $29 billion 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.

About Spartanburg Community College

SCC offers more than 70 academic program offerings including associate degrees, diplomas and certificates, plus University Transfer opportunities to four-year colleges and universities. SCC provides flexible class scheduling including day, evening, weekend classes with multiple start dates and a variety of online classes for all learning styles through SCCOnline. Offering the lowest tuition in the region, convenient locations, and regional/national accreditations, SCC offers educational opportunities leading to high-growth, high-demand jobs. The SCC Corporate & Community Education Division provides job and career enhancement, workforce development and personal enrichment courses and training programs. For more information, visit