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Start:ME Spartanburg is a free intensive 14-week business training program for entrepreneurs who work, live, worship, or plan to open a business in the Northside community of Spartanburg or whose business will provide products and services to residents of the Northside. The Start:ME program provides entrepreneurs the tools and connections necessary to build and grow successful businesses. 

The Start:ME Spartanburg model focuses on three key components to ensure the success of our entrepreneurs

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Actionable Information

•Intensive skills-based training
•Expert small business trainers


Work With Experts

•Connects aspiring business owners
•Brings key community, financial, and other experts together


Actionable Information

•Loan opportunities

  • Business Plan Development



15 Aspiring Entrepreneurs
30 Mentors
Boundless Opportunities

Weekly sessions focus on developing critical entrepreneurial skills through the presentation of material and supplementing this material with mentoring from experienced businesspeople from the community. Upon completion of the program, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to acquire venture funds for their enterprises. The focus of this program is to promote economic development in the Northside community by connecting aspiring and promising entrepreneurs with the necessary tools, skills and networks that exist in Spartanburg.

who we serve

As a joint venture between the University of South Carolina Upstate's George Dean Johnson College of Business and Economics and The Northside of Spartanburg, Start:ME Spartanburg serves those who live, work, worship, or whose business affect the Northside community of Spartanburg

The Northside is a purpose-built community that consists of a diverse group of people investing time, skills, and dollars for a safe and strong Northside community.

The Northside’s history and evolution over the past 100 years is a key factor in how the community will move beyond current conditions toward the Northside of tomorrow.

True neighborhood revitalization rarely happens by accident. It requires the work of hundreds of hands, the resources of local institutions and governments, and the collective vision of a community. In the case of the City’s Northside, a healthy amount of all of the above is in place.

Indeed, while the complete story of the Northside’s revitalization will likely take a decade to write, it is already noteworthy for the remarkable convening of residents, institutions, organizations, and non-profits that, perhaps for the first time in the city’s history, have joined together for a singular purpose – the comprehensive transformation of a neighborhood long beset by poverty and its associated challenges.

Initiatives like Start:ME Spartanburg is just one of many ways that the Northside community continue to rally it’s people, resources, and network to build a better community.


Click the button below for more information on the Northside and its initiatives.



Apply to be considered for our next cohort. Click the button below to learn more.


Become one of our cohort mentors. Click the button below to learn more.


Shop our Start:ME businesses. We have a wide range of businesses to choose from.


Dr. Elise Harvey

 University of South Carolina Upstate

Program Co-Director


Lekesa Whitner

Northside Development Group

Program Co-Director


Khala Hawes

University of South Carolina Upstate

Program Coordinator

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