City of Spartanburg focused on equity and inclusion

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Spartanburg, SC (WSPA) – On the Northside of Spartanburg progress has been made and more is on the way, just one of the many areas of development, now the city making efforts to insure small businesses and minorities are not left out.

 In Spartanburg, progress sounds like drills, hammers and dump trucks, there are dozens of projects underway or preparing to break ground and Spartanburg’s Mayor, City Council and city administrators are working to make sure doors are open for everyone.

“How do we help our contractors and sub-contractors compete on a lot of the work that’s going on from the new county courthouse, to the Marians Wright renovation.” Minority business development coordinator, Natasha Pitts said.

Natasha Pitts is the Minority Business Development Coordinator; the city has helped more than 35 businesses get the education they need through a program called “Amplified”. It’s a program designed to make sure businesses are equip to compete in the marketplace.

“We give them not only the education training, we give them access to capital business coaches and mentorship, and we want to make sure they’re opening a business that’s sustainable.” Pitts said.

Before the pandemic, empty store fronts were leased. Turns out its good business for the development office to make sure they stay viable.

“I like to be a dreamer and know that anything is possible as long as we can partner and put the work in.” Pitts said.

Under the Office of Inclusion there are business opportunities, supply diversity and workforce development. 

The goal is for many projects on the horizon will include women, Hispanics, blacks and even Asians,  which will give them the building blocks they need to create generational wealth.

“So what we’ve done internally is we’ve taken departments through training to understand what equity inclusion is so they can go back to their departments to look a policies and practices and things that they’re doing.” Pitts said.

According to Pitts, African- Americans make up 49-percent of Spartanburg’s population, while 56-percent of all ethnic groups live below the poverty line.

Growth is happening around Spartanburg County and especially on the Northside with new apartments and even the T.K. Gregg Center; these new developments are game-changers.

“We think about the kids that are over there giving them this beautiful facility so they can dream out loud, they can learn how to swim, they can learn and do whatever it is they want to do.” Pitts said.

As development projects continue, in the New Year, the city hopes to offer new incentives and initiatives.

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