A $2 million operation designed to help startup businesses in Sudbury has opened its doors. It’s being described as a hub for innovation, creative thinking and collaboration.

The 5,000-square-foot space known as Innovation Quarters is home to an incubator program that will offer mentorship, growth and networking support for startup companies.

“The Innovation Quarters is designed to support startups who are leveraging in technology to create operational efficiencies, improve customer experiences and provide products and services in innovative ways,” said Lisa Demmer, of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC).

Through the approval of city council, the GSDC is spending more than $1 million on the program over the next four years.

Local politicians say a space like this is vital to have in the city.

“Small businesses in the first year, the majority -- over 90 per cent -- don’t survive,” said Marc Serré, Nickel Belt MP.

“So this is an area where you’ll have mentors, where you’ll have support for individuals to not only start up their business but also expand the businesses in all the areas so long as there’s a tech component within that business.”

The federal government provided $900,000 for the project.

“It went towards creating this space that we are gathered in today, and towards creating the staffing to help support the young entrepreneurs that will come here to develop their ideas,” said Viviane Lapointe, Sudbury MP.

Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger said the project wouldn’t have been possible without all of the support.

“All of the collaboration and support and the people you saw here today, all of the different organizations -- we really believe in the importance (of) support for business and entrepreneurial endeavours in Greater Sudbury,” said Bigger.

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce also provided $15,000. The overall price tag was just more than $2 million.

Applications for the first cohort of businesses will be accepted until Sept. 11.