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by Angus Loten

This week, Florida’s newly dubbed National Entrepreneur Center, or E-Center, is slated to open its doors in the Orlando Fashion Mall, leaving its downtown space and Disney-branded name behind.

Formerly known as the Disney E-Center, the move offers an expanded 22,000-square-foot space with a number of on-site service providers, including SCORE, the African-American and Hispanic chambers of commerce, Central Florida’s Small Business Development Center and the National Association of Women Business Owners, among others.

The center, launched eight years ago by Orange County, Fla., Mayor Richard Crotty, Walt Disney Co . and University of Central Florida, offers small-business development services, such as seminars, coaching, training and financing help. Since 2003, it has facilitated some $125,000 in loans and served 70,000 small-business owners, organizers say.

Jerry Ross, the center’s executive director, told the Orlando Sentinel that the new name reflects a broader scope as the center attracts global attention, saying the goal is to “become a national model for communities to follow when pursuing small-business development.”

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