New resource centre aims to grow Sask. small businesses

Watch the video above: New business resource centre encourages entrepreneurs

SASKATOON – Saskatchewan’s growing population and booming economy have resulted in hundreds of new businesses popping up over the past few years.

But starting out isn’t easy, even in the perfect economic climate.

On Friday, the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) held the grand opening of Square One: Saskatchewan’s Business Resource Centre.

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Designed to assist new entrepreneurs, the centre will offer one-on-one consulting for business planning, information seminars, and import/export services.

“Square One is part of the Canada Business Network, western diversification is the funder,” explained Jim George, SREDA’s president and CEO.

According to the city’s annual business report, more than 1,300 new businesses sprang up last year. That’s a leap from 2009, when there were just over 1,000 start-ups.

Top Chef Canada winner Dale Mackay moved back to Saskatoon, his hometown, to open his own restaurant, Ayden Kitchen and Bar.

Even with his national fame and credentials, he says starting a new business wasn’t easy.

“It’s not really about the food for the first long time. It’s about contractors, it’s about going to the city and getting permits, so there’s a lot of massive facets,” Mackay explained.

But his hard work has paid off.

Mackay’s restaurant has been featured in numerous magazines and websites and recently made it into Vacay.ca’s list of top ten best restaurants in Canada.

“We really didn’t want to just be the best restaurant in Saskatoon, we want to be one of the best restaurants in the country, ” Mackay explained.

The world-renowned chef is not alone in his return to his home city. SREDA said more and more entrepreneurs are moving back and setting up shop.

“When your economy is growing and you look at the other parts of Canada and they haven’t had the same success. There’s a lot of people that left over the previous 20 years and they said, ‘let’s go back’,” said George.

Currently there are more than 100,000 small businesses in Saskatchewan.

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