The town of Marion will host the next round of its popular small business boot camp starting Oct. 15.  "Pop Up Marion," the community's five-week business development program, provides training for all levels of entrepreneurs, from those interested in exploring opportunities to seasoned business owners looking for a tune up. 

Earlier this month, Wells Fargo announced its continued financial commitment to the classes and with a few more vacant spaces available, Marion's Director of Community and Economic Development Ken Heath sees it as an opportunity to continue the legacy created with the program. 

"Pop Up Marion was the first in Virginia to put all the pieces together for entrepreneur training," said Heath, "from teaching business basics to base grant funding for startup to mentorship, and we're so proud our program has been adopted by the commonwealth of Virginia as their model for Community Business Launch to put more Virginians to work and in control of their own future."

Marion's "Pop Up" Entrepreneur Development Boot Camp Classes offer intensive training on all the aspects of small business, from legal structure to financials, marketing to credit. Participants are able to use the information to develop a business plan and can be eligible for up to $5,000 in startup grant funds and an additional $15,000 in low-interest loan funds. 

To date, Pop Up Marion has trained 275, sold 11 downtown buildings, filled an additional 22 storefronts, created 30 new businesses and 118 new jobs, assisted with three facade improvements and resulted in more than $2.6 million in private reinvestment. The program has dropped Marion's downtown storefront vacancy rates from over 17 percent to under 4 percent and is being used in communities across Virginia and the region.

The next round for Pop Up Marion will be held Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. at the Henderson School in downtown Marion from Oct. 15 through Nov. 12. Classes are free, but pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

For additional information, contact Heath at 276-378-5026 or

Pop Up Marion is a program of the town's Department of Community and Economic Development and is funded by the town, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and Wells Fargo. The program has won numerous awards, including from the Southern Economic  Development Council,  Virginia Municipal League and U.S. Small Business Administration. 

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