The European Cluster Collaboration Platform, on behalf of the European Commission and in partnership with Consulting Cluster Veritas and ICT Cluster Burgas, and supported by the regional authorities jointly organised the “Clusters meet Regions” workshop on the 13-15 September 2023, in Burgas, Bulgaria.
Themed “Enhancing cross-sectorial and trans-regional cooperation”, the “Clusters Meet Regions” in Burgas was the ninth event of the series. It focused on the priorities established by the region, like tourism, ICT and creative industries, but it also represented an opportunity to get a detailed overview of the local clusters panorama.
The Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian aggression on Ukraine, rising energy costs and geopolitical tensions affected EU regions and their industries. Every region is facing its own challenges, and each must find organisational approaches that are appropriate given their institutional realities, market needs and available resources. However, the EU regions need to be able to compete with other more advanced and emerging economies, especially in these challenging times. Location matters particularly for clusters, but there are some trends, that appear to be universal:
Cluster organisations and their members should take action and implement projects that are relevant to the economic development of their local communities.
Clusters should collaborate with other European clusters in the same or related economic activities to complement regional assets and reinforce capacity building and competitiveness, to accelerate digital transition and build resilience.
Regional authorities need to know their clusters and understand how they can shape, improve, and effectively help in the design and implementation of regional development policies.
In the 2022 – 2023 period, 15 regional workshops are organised in those EU regions, which have expressed their interest to host the events as part of the cycle.
Organised by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform on behalf of European Commission in partnership with Consulting Cluster Veritas and ICT Cluster Burgas, and supported by the regional authorities, the workshop aimed to:
Increase the visibility of clusters at regional, national, and trans-regional levels and position them better as reliable partners for smart economic policies.
Enhance cross-sectoral and transnational cluster cooperation with a focus on the Black Sea Region.
Strengthen the dialogue between business, academia and other innovation actors represented by clusters and the regional and national government structures.
The “Clusters meet Regions” workshop in Burgas brought together clusters, SMEs and policymakers of the EU, at national, regional, and local levels to learn from each other how to capitalize on clusters to strengthen industrial ecosystems, serve national/regional economic development and liaise with other regions with similar transition challenges. In addition, the workshop linked with the high-level events (day 1 of the programme) of the following international projects:
DIGITOUR, funded by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), entrusted by the European Commission, under the COSME Programme COS-TOURINN-2020-3-04.
DIGITOUR PROJECT brings together SMEs from the tourism sector with providers of innovative, digital, and smart solutions and new technologies. Through open calls and facilitation services, DIGITOUR PROJECT boosts the tourism sector in Europe through digital tools and innovation. The DIGITOUR consortium represents organisations from the following 8 European countries – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Serbia and Spain, providing an illustrative picture of the European tourism panorama, from north to south, from east to west.
The event brought together local and international clusters and SMEs, both from tourism and ICT sector, to wrap up what had been achieved through the voucher scheme, as well as to exchange new trends and seek new opportunities.
ICT Greening Up 2023Initiative, Supported by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism (Norway Grants) 2014-2021, program “Business Development, Innovation and Small and Medium Enterprises".
The ICT Greening Up Initiative initiated the green transformation of the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector in the Burgas region. The project relies on the concept of creating a regional supporting ecosystem that will facilitate the sustainable transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the ICT sector established in the area. The initiative will accelerate the creation and support the new generation of ICT companies and entrepreneurs who are "born green" and will also support the transition from traditional to more sustainable business models.
The high-level event involved decision-makers from the ICT sector (Bulgarian and Norwegian), local, regional, and national authorities, universities, and scientific communities; The event provided a forum for open discussions, B2B meetings, the possibilities for companies to get information on available funding for green innovations, as well as the innovators to promote new technological developments. In the frame of the programme, at least 10 green innovators/developers were presented at the exhibition.
For more details about the seminar programme and the speakers, the Final Agenda is available here.
Parallel High-Level Events of DIGITOUR and ICT Greening Up Initiative