SPARTANBURG, SC – May 30, 2017 – The Economic Futures Group has hired Betsy Neely Sikma to lead its entrepreneurial development work and initiatives. Sikma will start on Monday, June 12.
In her role as Director of Entrepreneurial Development, Sikma will be responsible for administering and implementing small business and entrepreneurial programming for the Economic Futures Group and for administering the day-to-day operations of the Spartanburg Angel Network. The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s recently completed OneSpartanburg (onespartanburg.com) economic development strategic planning process identified improving the entrepreneurial and small business climate as one of eight stories that collectively encapsulate the key issues affecting Spartanburg County.
“This is a key position and Betsy will be a tremendous addition to our team,” said Ethan Burroughs, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Economic Futures Group, which is housed at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have made significant progress in Spartanburg toward developing an environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive, but with her experience and expertise, Betsy will take these efforts to the next level.”
Sikma joins the EFG after 5 years at Accion in Chicago, a member of the Accion US Network and Accion International, the largest nonprofit microlender and business development organization in the nation. Sikma most recently was Accion in Chicago’s Vice President for Strategic Marketing and Development.
“The mission of entrepreneurship is my passion,” Sikma said. “I believe entrepreneurship is an essential part of building economies, boosting quality of life for residents, and springboarding communities into their potential to thrive. I have seen it first-hand through my work at Accion, and to have the opportunity to return to my hometown and continue this type of work is exciting. Spartanburg has made huge leaps in so many areas in the past decade, and I am thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute to those efforts.”
Prior to her tenure at Accion, Sikma was Director of Communications and Development at Protestants for the Common Good (now Community Renewal Society) in Chicago; and the Director of Development and Communications for The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation in Nashville, TN. Sikma earned a bachelor’s degree in religion from Furman University and a master’s in theological studies from Vanderbilt University. She earned a certificate in non-profit finance from the Kellogg School of Management Executive Education Program.
About the Economic Futures Group
The Economic Futures Group is the economic development organization for Spartanburg County and all of its municipalities. The EFG’s target industries are automotive, plastics, metalworking and distribution.
A holistic community and economic development strategy that focuses first on building a strong community. OneSpartanburg will address the full range of factors that influences a community’s economic competitiveness – its talent, education and training systems, business climate, infrastructure, quality of life, and quality of place, just to name a few.
About the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce
The Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce is a private, non-profit organization supported through membership investment and strategic partnerships. Our mission is to enhance the economic vitality and lifestyle environment of Spartanburg County. For more information, visit www.spartanburgchamber.com.