A meeting with 50 managers of Gold-Label Clusters from 17 European countries was organised by DG GROW on December 4th in Brussels. It gathered about half of all Gold-label cluster organisations across in Europe. They together represent more than 6500 SMEs from across Europa, covering many sectors – from Energy, Health, Automotive and Agro-food. About 20 additional representatives from national cluster associations and organisations involved in the labelling of clusters joined the discussions. The IT-Logistikcluster, Regensburg, Germany was also invited to participate. Participants had the opportunity to discuss, exchange their experiences and express their needs in three different sessions that all followed a participatory approach.
The first session covered the way forward for the European Cluster Excellence labelling, participants discussed in world café style practical aspects of the labelling process, indicators and how to better use the cluster excellence labelling in cluster policy and programmes.
In the second session, participants themselves proposed nine topics to discuss their needs for cluster policy actions at regional, national and EU level. The three topics that gathered the greatest interest were the relation between clusters and digital innovation hubs, the definition of clusters and internationalisation.
The final, third, session gathered valuable insights and feed-back for the development of the next generation of EU cluster initiatives, notably the Joint Cluster Initiatives proposed under the Single Market Program, including on key activities, thematic and value chain focus, actors to involve and how to build synergies with other activities.
The day before, additional meetings were organised with representatives of the national cluster associations that came together in the new European Cluster Alliance as well as of organisations involved in the working group on the setting-up of the future European Cluster Excellence Association and the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis, which run the labelling scheme for cluster excellence. This event is part of DG GROW’s aim to promote the cooperation of clusters throughout Europe and to support excellence in cluster management for the benefit of SMEs.