FORT WORTH-At a special signing this morning, Texas and the US Small Business Administration, with representatives from Washington, DC, to the Fort Worth regional office, cinched a deal for the nation’s fourth entrepreneur center in one of the state’s metropolises. The location has yet to be decided, officials say.

A memorandum of understanding was inked at 9 a.m. today by Hector V. Barreto, the SMA’s national administrator, and Jeff Moseley, the executive director of Texas Economic Development (TxED). The signing, which took place in Austin, kicks off the exploratory stage that more likely than not will end in an office and team while shoring up state and federal cooperative efforts with other SBA programs.

The SBA launched the entrepreneur center in San Jose, CA, where it met with unprecedented success, according to feedback from Washington, DC. The federal agency is making plans for centers in Orlando and Missouri. The goal, says a TxED insider, is to have the Texas office up and running by yearend.

“The bottom line is we are looking forward to working with TxED and small businesses in Texas,” Raul Cisneros, the SBA’s assistant administrator, tells The site selection will be based on interest in government and private circles. The office, he adds, won’t necessarily fall to the regional office in Fort Worth or even the Dallas operation.

Cisneros says the entrepreneur center is different than the incubator programs that were so prolific in the late 1980s and 1990s in generating business startups. They also won’t be necessarily set up in every state. Small business is the engine that churns out three-fourths of the new jobs in the US each year so getting a entrepreneur center could be a coup for future job growth.

The TxED source says the financial cost has not been worked out to his knowledge, but there’s bound to be a split of responsibilities across the board for the operation. The office, by virtue of its nature, will end up in a metropolitan area but not necessarily within the city limits of Texas’ Big Four.

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