CLUSTEM - Empowering CLUSters management and services in Textile and Machinery sectors

Italy: Tuscany
Enrico Venturini
56% completed


Type of partnership
Total budget
EU contribution

Summary and objectives

Objectives: The CLUSTEM strategy aims to boost Textile and Machinery Clusters and Associations competencies in management and services provided to associated SMEs, enabling them to increase international networking and reach excellence in management and Cross Border Cooperation. CLUSTEM project aims at:

  • Increasing the level of textile and textile-machinery cluster management skills and procedures;
  • Introducing selected Key Enabling Technologies of the specific sector, by mutually exchanging the experiences and know-how between the cluster members and by analysing aspects of excellence European organisations;
  • Learning procedures and solutions adopted by foreign counterparts in technological innovation and resource management systems;
  • Better exploiting creativity for product innovation and new ideas generation;
  • Acquisition of experience about forms of cooperation between SMEs to face the challenges arisen in recent years from the opening of novel markets, where textile products (both traditional and advanced) have thousands of possibilities.

​​Sectoral/industrial focus:

Sectors addressed by the project are bearing columns of EU economy: textiles and machinery sectors, presenting immense possibilities, if diversified from the mass production typical of cheap labor countries. Nowadays the textile & machinery industries faces an unprecedented challenge regarding global competition for every single market across the world. Clusters are a response to those challenges and are able to link cross-border complementarities and geographical proximity of SMEs in the same production area, which can stimulate diversity of production and increase creativity of new products. CLUSTEM intend to address these issues and to help the replication of this process to nearby areas in Europe. The strategy adopted by European leading clusters to strengthen the economic performance and the improvement of services provided to the associated SMEs is a beneficial strategy that similar clusters in the same sector (or in proximity of it) can easily adopt.  European production still has a strong value when sold abroad. It is inevitable that textile and machinery industries and their supporting organizations within the EU should achieve a set of competences and strategies without disregarding a local action focus, aiming at the success of common entrepreneurial, technological or marketing strategies. CLUSTEM tries to give a concrete contribution to achieve such goals, as it brings together relevant organizations within the textile and clothing EU scenery and namely from the most active and important countries operating in textile and machinery building: Italy, UK, Spain and Turkey.

Executive Summary: 

The activity of clusters is vital for supporting international competitiveness of the European SMEs, through building of collaboration and sharing of added value. The CLUSTEM project is based on the results of the European Cluster Excellency Initiative (ECEI), which aims at the improvement of the policy in the field on cluster management. A better management and organisation can address some of the key factors affecting competitiveness in textile and machinery clusters in Europe. Within this project, activities specifically addressed at industrial textile and machinery clusters will be performed. Project results will be shared with companies within the clusters and will give the possibility to design new services for textile and machinery SMEs. The specific objectives of the project are: reinforcement and improvement of the cluster management capacities of the partners, through benchmarking, training, study visits; establishment of a strategic collaboration between textile, especially advanced textile products, and machinery sectors, which is the main source of innovation for textile SMEs; transfer of knowledge and experiences developed in other clusters for the provision of high quality services to SMEs, increasing the level of innovation capacity and introducing new creative-based ideas for the realisation of new products, facilitating internationalization of SMEs, better exploiting and diffusing Key Enabling Technologies, assisting SMEs in further addressing resource efficiency issues. This set of goals will be achieved through the implementation of the following actions: benchmarking consultancy from ESCA experts, with the final aim of getting at least the first level of labelling for the 4 clusters; training with European experts in ECEI curriculum for at least the 5 core modules; study visits to 3 gold labelled clusters in other European countries; design of new top quality services for SMEs of the 4 clusters and dissemination of project activities. 

Expected Results:

Main expected outcomes are:

  • Increase of management capacities of the four clusters for achieving excellency in management;
  • Definition of procedures to be followed to achieve ESCA certification of the 4 participating clusters (at least bronze);
  • Benchmarking exercise based on ESCA procedure for good practices for clusters;
  • Implementation of dedicated training programmes on cluster management for the four clusters: training will involve 2 members of each cluster and will be provided by international experts in cluster management about cluster excellence, including a report on lessons learned and recommendations for the future delivery of effective services;
  • Realisation of three study visits to gold label clusters in Europe, for the definition of actions for transferring hints and business ideas to SMEs of the 4 clusters, on key intervention areas; clusters will therefore acquire specific technological and managerial know-how and best practices from excellence clusters; lessons learnt from this exercise will represent the basis for the design of top quality services for SMEs,
  • Development of a portfolio of new top quality services or a consistent improvement of activities in place for each participating cluster, to be delivered to SMEs in future, in order to improve competitiveness and international positioning, by increasing internal technological level, resource management, creativity and design adopted and investigation of new foreign markets
  • Measurement of the impact of a pre-defined pilot action to be chosen among the portfolio.
  • Public final publication containing all the activities realised and the results obtained, plus periodic newsletters. 

Project results will be equally disseminated to internal members of the cluster (SMEs) and external actors (other clusters, stakeholders, etc.).


Events organized by the project:

  • Participation to one international and one national conference, and to other events organized within cluster management initiatives;
  • In coincidence with the end of the project, a final conference open to the local media, public authorities and relevant stakeholders will take place.

Sectorial and industrial focus

Sectoral industries
Industrial Alliances and Ecosystems

Partnership composition

Profile name Location Project coordinator
Next Technology Tecnotessile Società Nazionale di Ricerca r.l. - NTT Coordinator
Is ve Insaat Makineleri Kumelenme Dernegi - WCM
Construction Machinery Cluster


Membership in Cluster Partnerships or initiatives

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Document Published: 16.05.2018
Clusters at the centre of competitiveness arena: how to excel

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