In the Red River College Polytech Portage Campus basement lies something new and exciting to this Prairie town.

The "Portage Innovation Centre" is a new initiative facilitated by Red River College Polytech (RRCP), as well as Communities Building Youth Futures (CBYF), and they are looking to create more local business concepts and opportunities.

The centre held its soft launch on Wednesday to kick off what they hope will bring new ideas to the community.

"We've had a lot of people say that they're really interested in seeing what the space is going to be like and to get more of an idea of what's going to be happening in this space and that kind of thing," says Regional Campus Manager for RRCP Guy Moffat. "My hopes for the space are that we're going to be able to create a culture in Portage that's going to allow people to really exercise their innovative ideas and juices."

Moffat says he hopes this space which is in the early stages of development, will act as a hoteling space for innovators to create ideas.

"So, they don't have the distractions at home, and they don't have to do it out of their garage like Jeff Bezos did."

File Photo.The Portage Innovation Centre

Moffat shares that the centre will be bringing a 3D printer, Cricut 3 Machine, laser engraver, multifunction printer, and a heavy-duty sewing machine in the coming months as a part of their 'Fab Lab.'

"So, if there's any of that fabrication, the hands-on stuff, the Fab Lab is going to be in place here as well. I'm hoping that we get again a bit of culture around how to use the machines and just be really wild and innovative and come out with some really unique things out of Portage." According to Moffat, the next few days will be a massive start for the centre.

He says that Thursday was their 'Innovate to Launch Campaign Contest' with eight contestants learning how to pitch business ideas from Ryan Ramsdale of Innovation Edge. Friday, they will have time to work on their ideas from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Then, on Saturday, they will come to the Red River Campus at 10 a.m. to put the final touches on ideas before pitching them to a panel of judges at 1:50 p.m.

"The top three teams are going to win $1000 and some free time in the Innovation Centre."

Moffat notes that the centre will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Saturday at noon to celebrate the launch.

File Photo.The Portage Innovation Centre