Fayetteville - Homegrown Tools

Fayetteville, NC

Updated: 2022

The City of Fayetteville, NC expanded on an existing small business loan program to fund emergency grants intended to keep businesses from shutting down in the area. Through a dense network of partnerships, the City was able to target assistance to the businesses that needed it most.

Population2020 211,201
Median Household Income2020$46,321
Poverty Rate 202019.9%
Proximity to Urban Center 0 miles to Fayetteville
Proximity to Interstate Highway 7.5 miles to I-95
Case Study Time Frame 2020
Municipal Budget FY2021-2022274.4 million
Data Source: US Census, American Community Survey
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The City of Fayetteville is located in central North Carolina, adjacent to the Fort Bragg military base. Fayetteville’s economy is generally stable due to the military’s presence, however the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic put local businesses in danger of closing despite this economic anchor. The City quickly addressed this concern, building on an existing small business grant program to create an emergency grant program for area businesses, funded by the City’s General Fund.



What are the lessons learned from this story?


Prepare elected officials for these changes. Many residents had questions for the City Council about this program and the economic development department briefed council on the program so they were prepared to answer. The department kept City Council informed by sharing multiple updates with them each week, and by sending consistent reports about funding and acceptance rates.


Funding is not enough, a successful program also needs ample staffing capacity to market and administer. Fayetteville had the staff capacity to implement these projects, without which it would have been very difficult to launch the programs. Grant and loan programs can be complex to administer; beyond the presence of funding there must also be sufficient capacity to market the program, guide applicants through the process, and follow up with them after funds are received. While Fayetteville had much of this capacity in house, through partnerships they were also able to enhance their marketing and technical assistance to potential applicants making the program more successful.


Leverage existing networks to market the program and assist potential applicants through the process. Local resources from CEED and the Chamber made it possible to push these programs out quickly, as they already had relationships with the target businesses. Additionally they were able to help business owners with the application process, ensuring a higher rate of success for applicants.