Catalan clusters raise €500,000 from European Commission to boost internationalisation projects

Submitted by Lee Gibson on 17 November 2020

Nine Catalan clusters have raised €560,000 from the European Commission (EC) to promote internationalisation projects for their small and medium sized enterprise (SME) members.

This accounts for 6.5% of the total budget from the EC’s Clusters Go International call within the framework of the COSME programme - with a total budget of €8.6 million euros - and in which 78 clusters from 20 countries participate.

Accessing these funds is a competitive process and the Catalan clusters had the support of Catalonia Trade and Investment, the Catalan Government’s agency for business competitiveness, with all the clusters that submitted applications obtaining funding.

The grants will enable clusters to carry out two-year projects to develop joint internationalisation strategies for all the SMEs that are part of their organisations or the implementation of these strategies through market research studies, international missions or B2B meetings with other companies around the world.

The projects of the Catalan clusters are the following:

  • CENFIM (household equipment and contract cluster) and Catalan Water Partnership: CENFIM leads the Welliance project - the Catalan Water Partnership and clusters from Belgium, Germany and France also take part - to supply European SMEs of the construction and hotel equipment sectors with the information and contacts to expand into the United States, Mexican and South African markets
  • MODACC and Clúster Digital de Catalunya: MODACC leads the European project Fascinate, which aims to promote the internationalisation of companies in the textile and fashion industry with elements related to circularity and sustainability and through digital technologies. The Clúster Digital de Catalunya and organizations from Denmark, Bulgaria and Portugal also take part in the initiative.
  • Solartys and Catalan Water Partnership participate in the Green and Small Smart Cities project - which also involves clusters from Italy, Poland and the Czech Republic - to support the internationalisation strategy of European SMEs with sustainable technological solutions in areas such as energy infrastructures, renewable energy solutions, rational use of resources, lack of connectivity or water treatment, among others
  • Beauty Cluster: The Global Cosmetics Cluster Europe project will promote the internationalisation of SMEs in the fields of cosmetics and perfumery through the organisation of business missions, market research, trends and training for companies looking to espand into India, Mexico, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Arab Emirates and United States
  • secpho and Packaging Clúster: these two Catalan organisations are part of the European initiative FoodpackLab 2 to promote cooperation between SMEs from different European countries and collaborate in the development of innovative solutions to export to India and South Africa with the aim of reducing food waste
  • CICAT: the Catalan cluster CICAT, specialising in the field of light technology, participates in the ELCA4i project with the ELCA European Lighting Cluster Alliance and the lighting clusters of France and Italy to carry out joint actions with European SMEs to promote their internationalisation primarily to the United States and Canada

Catalan clusters with the international Gold Label of excellence

As a matter of fact, five out of these Catalan clusters (Packaging Cluster, MODACC, Catalan Water Partnership, Beauty Cluster and secpho) have also this year received the Gold Label from the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA).

This is one of the most prestigious global recognitions in the field of clusters and cluster management specifically, which Catalan cluster FEMAC already received in 2012.

This means that currently 10% of European clusters having the Gold Label are Catalan.

To receive the Gold Label, 30 indicators are analysed, including those related to financing, governance, strategy, composition (whether the organisation has a presence of multinationals, SMEs, startups, universities or technology centers) or the qualifications of the managing team.

Having this certificate allows clusters to increase their visibility and international positioning, as well as offering access to other leading European clusters to carry out joint projects and improvement processes.

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