America's Newest Entrepreneurial Patron
No, Mickey won't be teaching marketing. But organizers of the new Disney/SBA National Entrepreneur Center in Orlando are happy to bear the legendary name. "I think it catches people's attention," says center director Debbie Brown, who is also pleased that the theme park is providing $1 million in funding over five years. Sure, there's an irony to a notoriously corporate institution backing entrepreneurial studies. But officials in Florida's Orange County, which is kicking in an additional $1.2 million, have Tigger-like enthusiasm for the project. "The potential is great if you provide creative people with the tools they need," says local economic development director George Rodon. The SBA center will offer business courses, special software for crafting strategic plans, and mentor programs to would-be Walts. The Mouse House has also launched an online game (disney.com/hotshot) to teach kids entrepreneurship.