Along with several other well-known local entrepreneur hubs, the Small Business Development Center at UCF celebrated the grand opening of its new space last week.

After nearly a decade of operating out of the Disney Entrepreneur Center in downtown Orlando, the SBDC at UCF is now based at Orlando Fashion Square.

The SBDC at UCF recently moved with the Disney Entrepreneur Center, which has been renamed the National Entrepreneur Center, and commemorated its new space Tuesday, May 17, with local business, community and educational leaders.

“UCF has been with the center from the start,” Provost Tony Waldrop told a crowd gathered at the grand opening. “Through partnerships, the Walt Disney World Resort, Orange County Government and UCF established the center as a driving force for creating jobs, growing businesses and building a better region through economic development.”

Organizers hope that the newly renovated 22,000 square feet at the mall will attract more clients to the space and new small businesses to take advantage of the National Entrepreneur Center’s services.

“Our goal is to become a national model for communities to follow when pursuing small business development,” said Jerry Ross, the National Entrepreneur Center’s executive director. “At the same time, here locally we have a new location that provides free parking and much easier access for all of our Central Florida clients.”

UCF, along with Walt Disney World Resort and Orange County Government, also recently extended the length of its sponsorship commitment to the National Entrepreneur Center for another five years.

In addition to the SBDC at UCF, the National Entrepreneur Center is home to several other on-site service providers dedicated to helping clients and their businesses, including the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund, Orange County Government, SCORE – Counselors to America’s Small Business, the UCF Business Incubation Program and the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The center also hosts on-site community partners, including the African American Chamber of Commerce, the British American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida, the Central Florida Disability Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, the National Association of Women Business Owners – Orlando and the Central Florida Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.

Since its founding in 2003, the center and its six service providers have seen more than $125 million in loans facilitated, coached 70,000 businesses and assisted more than 700 new business start-ups.

Serving Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter and Volusia counties, the SBDC at UCF maintains six sub-center offices in addition to its main office in Orlando.

The SBDC at UCF is a member of the Florida Small Business Development Center Network, a statewide service network funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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