Starting a Business

If you’ve ever considered starting your own business, Orange County Economic Development, with its world-class academic and enterprise resources, can help you get off on the right foot. For starters, the SBTDC Business Startup Guide is an excellent guide to help with many of your first business decisions. It provides general information for new business owners and can serve as both a reference and directory for established businesses of all sizes.

Loan/Grant Program

Orange County (through Article 46) promotes a variety of programs intended to help strengthen and diversity the County’s local economy, to include the attraction, growth and retention of our many valued small businesses and agricultural based operations.


The purpose of the Orange County Business Investment Grant Program is to stimulate successful non-farm Business Investment development and expansion in Orange County. 

SMALL GRANT ($1,500 or less) Use of Funds – Priority will be given to ventures demonstrating a clear need for grant funds to grow their business, hire additional staff, grow the commercial tax base, and/or create a significant social and economic impact in the County.

LARGE GRANT ($1,500.01 – $10,000) High Potential Founders – Although all applicants will be considered, business owners who exhibit the following characteristics will be given priority: a. Have a thorough understanding of their market b. Have assembled a talented team c. Have a passion for building their venture in Orange County High Potential Ventures – Priority will be given to “growth” ventures capable of expanding rapidly, renting office space in Orange County, and hiring Orange County employees. Use of Funds – Priority will be given to applicants demonstrating a clear need for grant funds to grow their business, hire additional staff, grow the commercial tax base, or create a significant social impact in the County.


The “Agriculture Economic Development” grant program will assist local farmers to develop new sources of agricultural income through the provision of cost-share grants.  Individual grant limit is $10,000. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their operation is a verifiable farm business.  The farm tract and farming operation on which the funds are to be used must be in Orange County.

Next Application Deadline: September 30, 2021 – applications will be accepted quarterly thereafter (deadlines: December 31, 2021, March 31, 2022 and June 30, 2022) if there are remaining funds.

Click to download guidelines.

Click to download application.

A small subcommittee of members from the Orange County Economic Development Advisory Board, the Farmland Preservation Board, and other relevant staff will meet quarterly to review applications and make decision on possible awards. For further information, consult the Orange County Economic Development office at (919) 245-2327.


The Small Business Loan Fund was established several years ago by the county’s Economic Development department to support the growth of local businesses and is available to Orange County residents with an equity contribution of at least 10% in the business. The loan fund is managed by a Board of Directors comprised of small business owners, bank representatives and representatives from several County departments. To request additional information on eligibility requirements and application procedures, please contact Amanda Garner, (919) 245-2330 or

The Small Business Loan Fund is not currently accepting applications.