SHERBROOKE, QUE. -- Quebec announced Thursday that it has chosen the location of its first two "innovation zones," a new sort of hub for business and technology: Sherbrooke and Bromont, two municipalities in the Eastern Townships.

The idea behind the zones is to bring together businesspeople and the education sector in order to stimulate high-tech projects and investments.

"Innovation zones are a vision that is very close to my heart," said Premier François Legault at a press release unveiling the two locations

"I would even speak of it as a dream that I have had for a long time for Quebec."

The "Sherbrooke quantique" zone will specialize in quantum science. The flagship project there is the installation of IBM's fourth quantum computer outside the United States, and the only such one in Canada.

The government will invest $68 million in this project and the American company will spent an equivalent amount.

In total, the Quebec government plans to invest $131 million in Sherbrooke to support 13 projects. The government estimates that the creation of the zone will bring a total of $435 million in investment.

In Bromont, the other, smaller zone, "Technum Québec," will specialize in digital technologies.

Quebec will invest $24.7 million in five projects there. The government estimates there will be a total of $255 million of investment in the Bromont area from the hub.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 3, 2022.