APPAU participated in the European Cluster Conference for the first time

Submitted by Denys Zhmuryk on 20 October 2022


On September 26-27, the Ukrainian Сluster Alliance (UCA) delegation consisting of 6 female participants from the APPAU clusters took part in the European Cluster Conference in Prague. APPAU delegated: Vinnytsia Instrumentation and Industrial Automation Cluster, Ivano-Frankivsk Business Association, Rivne Medical Cluster, Podillia Fashion Cluster, Ukrainian Automotive and Mobility Cluster.

The main focus at the Conference was on the topic of sustainability of economies and value added chains, which have undergone significant upheavals due to the war in Ukraine. Accordingly, the topic of Ukraine was mentioned quite often in the speeches.

It is encouraging that Ukrainian delegation was represented by a high-quality team. Actually, this is the first such visit of UCA to the Euroconference of clusters, and it was able to take place thanks to support of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). It is still the only international donor that systematically and regularly supports Ukrainian clusters in their development.

Ukrainian delegation head Olha Trofymova, director of the UCA export and internationalization programs and head of the Ukrainian Automotive and Mobility Cluster key message at the Conference was that the world (including EU clusters) should move away from the policies of “healthy pragmatism”, since these “pragmatic” approaches have completely collapsed today.

Multibillion-dollar investments of European companies in Russian market, and against the background of years of disregard for Russia’s aggressive actions against neighbouring countries, are wasted! And today, when another escalation is taking place in Ukraine, it is time to change and transform. First of all, the key business paradigms must change. Now it is not so much about another declaration of sustainable development, as about a real focus on the values ​​of humanity, free choice and freedom of each country’s citizens.

Ukrainian delegation held a number of B2B meetings, more than 30 in total. Ukrainian stand had a lot of attention and support from other clusters, as well as DG Grow, the leading department of the European Commission responsible for cluster development. The stand was visited by the head of the department, Ula Engelman, as well as a number of leading DG Grow managers. Ukrainian delegation gladly welcomed partners previously known only online. Among them are Antonio de Novo, head of the European Clusters Alliance, Loic Marin (French CIMES cluster) and many others.

On September 26, a separate meeting of DG Grow with UCA delegation was also held, where it was decided to hold UCA conference in Slovakia at the beginning of 2023. The second success of our delegation is acceptance of UCA into the TCI Network, the world’s leading cluster community.

On September 27, Ukrainian issue, in particular, the “UCA Roadmap for 2022-23”, was discussed at a separate session.

Participation of the Ukrainian delegation can certainly be considered a success for the entire UCA/APPAU. The main result is strengthening of trust to UCA from European Commission and European partners, and the conference in Slovakia, joining the TSI are only the first consequences of this influence. Equally important are motivation, new contacts and new knowledge, all of which our girls will bring back to our clusters.

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