The European Cluster Collaboration Platform, on behalf of the European Commission and in partnership with the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency, the Union of Slovak Clusters, the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance and the Enterprise Europe Network, organised the “Clusters meet Regions” workshop on EU-Ukraine Business Partnership.
The event aimed to integrate Ukrainian clusters and companies into the EU value chains and took place in Kosice, Slovakia, on 29-30 March 2023. The workshop brought together more than 200 representatives from EU and Ukrainian clusters and companies, as well as national and regional public authorities, business support organizations, researchers, and other related actors.
The event included speeches from high-level officials from the European Commission, Slovakia, and Ukraine, panel discussions, pitching sessions, business-to-business matchmaking, and site visits. The workshop aimed to build EU-Ukraine business relations and to find partners to trade and invest with, improve the diversification of markets and suppliers for EU and Ukrainian companies, and establish resilient cross-border networks to promote collaboration and understanding between stakeholders.
15 regional workshops are being organised as part of the “Clusters meet Regions” cycle, in EU regions that have expressed an interest in hosting such events during the 2022-23 period. These events bring together clusters and policymakers of the EU at national, regional and local levels to learn, from each other, how to better use clusters to strengthen industrial ecosystems, serve national/regional economic development and liaise with other regions facing similar transitional challenges.
We need to further boost the collaboration between EU and Ukrainian cluster organisations and companies in Ukraine.
Given the current conflict, the event cannot be organised in Ukraine. However, the Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency and the Union of Slovak Clusters will co-organise this workshop with the Ukrainian Cluster Alliance.
Seeing an increasingly contested geostrategic environment, intra- and extra-EU supply chains are facing unprecedented pressures and shortages. The EU and Ukrainian (UA) companies have lost their markets and suppliers in Russia, and many EU business linkages have resultantly been disrupted. UA companies are looking for new orders and business opportunities and could become interesting partners for the European industry. Despite the Russian aggression toward Ukraine, Ukrainian companies are continuing their business operations.
Slovakia, in recent years, has seen a very dynamic development of its cluster ecosystem. Since 2017, in just 5 years, it has seen an increase of over 100% in established clusters. Currently, there are 35 industrial clusters in Slovakia, out of which, one is a gold ESCA-labelled cluster, and another is silver, with several others also looking to achieve this level of certification very soon. The majority of Slovak clusters are focused on IT, I4.0 (including automation and robotization), energy, and circular economy.
Read the Input Paper to learn about economy, trade flows and cluster landscape in Slovakia, Ukraine and the wider EU-neighbourhood.
On-site, the event will bring together over 200 representatives of EU and Ukrainian clusters and companies, as well as national and regional public authorities and business support organisations from Slovakia and other EU regions, researchers, civil society members, financial intermediaries, innovation agencies, industrial associations, investors, and other related actors.
This event was an opportunity to build EU-Ukraine business relations and to find partners to trade and invest with.
The event helped improve the diversification of markets and suppliers for EU and UA companies, which is key for all whilst in the process of reshaping value chains. Previous bilateral exchanges between Ukrainian and EU clusters have shown business opportunities for both sides, e.g., in the agri-food, construction, advanced manufacturing, automotive or textile sectors. Clusters will be used as the integrators and facilitators of this collaboration. The event provided a basis to establish resilient cross-border networks, promoted the exchange of information and resources between different stakeholders involved in the clusters. It also promoted cross-border recognition, helping to foster a spirit of collaboration and understanding between stakeholders.
The agenda included speeches of high-level officials from the European Commission, Slovakia, and Ukraine.
Panel discussions on economic development and intra-EU business and business support organisations followed by pitching sessions from clusters and enterprises, business-to-business matchmaking and site visits in industrial ecosystems relevant to the EU-UA cooperation in building autonomy and resilience, such as utilities, health, agri-food, textiles, industry 4.0, defence and ICT.