The Town of Marion is offering its popular "Small Business Boot Camp"  Thursday evenings beginning September 5  at the Marion Town Hall. 

And this term, special emphasis will be offered for tourism-based businesses and even existing businesses who need guidance for expanding to provide for under-served markets.

"Each class, we try to add something new," said Ken Heath, class organizer.  "This time, we'll provide the basics that apply to any business, with a focus on start-ups, but we're also bringing in Virginia Tourism for a couple of classes to provide unique insight into businesses tapping into the tourist market.  We're also fortunate to receive additional funds, so we're offering the grants to qualifying existing businesses this time."

The program offers participants information designed to prep them to draft their own business plan and present to the class for the opportunity to win up to $5,000 in grant funds to offset rent and utilities for the first six months of operation to qualifying businesses locating in Marion's historic downtown and the Town's business district.

"This is our trademark eight-week class," said Ken Heath, class organizer.  "We are pleased to have continued support from our sponsors - Virginia Main Street and Wells Fargo - and we want to continue to offer this great opportunity for entrepreneurs."

The class is offered free of charge, and existing business owners, along with entrepreneurs from across the region, are welcome to participate.   "The class is open to everyone, but the competition for grant funds is restricted to businesses locating in Marion and our downtown district," explained Heath.  "But we have great partners that can offer financing just about anywhere."

"This eight-week class covers the topics of small business a little more in depth than our shortened summer version," said Heath.  "This class is for everyone - from those who have only thought of a business concept to those with a basic understanding of the business plan, to those that have had a business in the past, and even for folks who currently own businesses and are looking at ways to expand.  With our experts from People Inc, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance, and Virginia Tourism Corporation, we're covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time, and we're excited for our next class of successful businesses."

The class is offered through a grant from Virginia Main Street and from Wells Fargo.  It is a partnership between the Town of Marion, Marion Downtown!, People Incorporated, The Virginia Department of Business Assistance, Virginia Tourism Corporation, and local sponsors.  Preregistration is encouraged to guarantee seating.  

For additional information on Marion's "Small Business Boot Camp" call Marion Downtown at (276) 783-4190 or email