Business Programs


The City of Marion partners with the Marion Business Association to offer various programs to help support local businesses. Programs offered through the Marion Business Association include:

  • Grant Writing Support
  • Growing Entrepreneurial Marion (GEM) Small Business Grant Program
  • Historic Marion Façade Grant Program
  • Marion Small Business Revolving Loan Program
  • Microenterprise Loan Program
  • NC REAL Small Business Course
  • Small Business Counseling


In 2007, the City of Marion was selected by the NC Rural Center as a demonstration site for the NC Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program. The program provided the City with funding for economic development planning and implementation. As a result, the City partnered with the MBA to identify initiatives that would have a direct and sustainable benefit on the local economy. Through the program, 13 local business owners were granted funding to help purchase merchandise and equipment for business expansion, employee retention, and business marketing.

In addition, seed funding was provided to leverage additional public and private funding for the development of a permanent shade pavilion for the farmer's tailgate market; fund architectural plans for the interior renovation of the McDowell Arts Council Building, the creation of a marketing study of Marion, the design and installation of directional signage, and much more.

Historic Marion Facade Grant Program

In recent years, the City of Marion, McDowell County, Marion Business Association, and McDowell Economic Development Association have partnered to improve and expand the Historic Marion Facade Grant Program, which funds exterior improvements to buildings in the Downtown area. Grant opportunities are available, providing significant funding for building improvements for property or business owners in the Downtown area.

NC REAL Small Business Course

The Marion Business Association teaches the NC REAL Small Business Course at various times throughout the year. This course is free and is highly recommended for people considering starting a business.

Additional Guidance

The Marion Business Association also provides guidance and advice on available programs for businesses, including loan and grant opportunities.

For more information on business programs, please call the Marion Business Association at 828-652-2215.