Business leaders, Estevan city staff, and Estevan residents gathered for the grand opening of the Southeast Innovation Business Development Centre on Wednesday.
The centre is aimed at enhancing the Estevan economy, and also as a resource for people in Estevan who want to start their own business.
"It's a leap of faith for the community," said Richard Sadick, who is with Economic Development Estevan. "We're really excited about this facility. Everything that you can think of that you would need to start a business, to developing a new store front, or possibly looking for funding, or moving into the community and building something, it can all be done at this one stop under one roof."
Estevan mayor Roy Ludwig said that with the traditional Estevan industries of oil and coal mining not being the economic drivers they once were, it's important for the community to pivot.
"We're moving forward with some of the new technologies which is the way of the future, and we're very excited," Ludwig said.
Estevan Public Library manager Jason Redshaw also attended the grand opening with a display of services that the library is currently offering, as did grade 8 students from St. Mary's School.
"We were hoping to work with all of our students, particularly our grade 6-8 students, on kind of building their capacity in innovation," said principal Ryan Jutras.
"And so we're hoping through a partnership with the business innovation hub here in Estevan that it can be mutually beneficial for our students to be able to contribute to the city of Estevan and beyond, but also for the city of Estevan to partner with us to be able to provide us with some of the experts, some people with some expertise in the area of tech and innovation to be able to help grow our students into young innovators," he said.
Grade 8 teacher Agnes Garrioch described how her students were innovating in the classroom.
"So a few of our students today are going to be promoting their apps that they've created, and some students have used robots to create solutions for some problems," Garrioch said. "We have a drill that was made, we have three apps that were made...a train tracker, a bus tracker, and the other app is actually an app for the city of Estevan."
The city also announced on Wednesday that Estevan has been chosen as a Smart 21 Community for 2022, which includes 21 cities from around the world that will be narrowed down in the coming weeks. It is the only city from Saskatchewan that's in the running.
Winnipeg won the award last year.