Clusters meet Regions in Malaga: What lessons have been learnt?
What is ‘Clusters meet Regions’?
The goal of the ‘Clusters meet Regions’ series is to understand how regional authorities can better include clusters in the implementation of their regional economic development policies and to foster stronger collaboration between these two actors.
The pilot event of the series took place in Malaga, Spain, on 16-17 February 2022, under the auspices of the Junta de Andalucía and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).
Day 1 – Clusters-Regions: A partnership for resilience
The first day set the scene for Clusters meet Regions as a whole. It introduced the objectives and rationale of the event series and established why cluster policy is so important to the European Commission. It was noted that the Commission is currently updating its industrial strategy to be geared towards the twin transition. A question that received attention in these discussions was how clusters can be leveraged to achieve these policy objectives.
Following this, discussion revolved around the current state of play of the public-private partnership between the regional government and clusters in Andalusia. Dr. Jan-Philipp Kramer (Prognos) mentioned that with 21 cluster organisations, the region of Andalusia has the second-most clusters in Spain. Marek Przeor (DG GROW) presented various examples of regional governments playing an active role in fostering cluster development. He also drew attention to initiatives that are being developed at the European level to promote interregional cluster collaboration.
The final session of the day concerned the cluster ecosystem in Andalusia addressing its priorities and challenges. One of the key objectives of this session was to identify areas where clusters can provide support in regional development. Ana Moniche (Public Entity for Tourism and Sport Management) summarised the takeaways from the session well: clusters can mobilise companies to participate in government-led initiatives (such as Smart Specialisation Platforms), which help them adapt their business models for the future.
Day 2 – Clusters meet Andalusia
The second day was more action oriented. The morning sessions revolved around cooperation proposal pitches by cluster organisations. Participants heard pitches from more than ten cluster organisations across several sectors and cluster ecosystems.
Just before mid-day, Hervé Floch gave a presentation about EUCLES, the European Clusters Labelling Excellence Structure. The EUCLES’ labels act as a guarantee that a cluster organisation is of a high enough quality to satisfy EU requirements.
The afternoon programme consisted of a site visit to Malaga’s technology park and TORSA, a company specialised in designing and manufacturing technology solutions for mining, logistics and renewable energy sectors, and CESUR, a training centre boosting IT and innovative skills of young people. Both have their headquarters within the park. It ended with a visit to Malaga’s Digital Pole, which convenes over a dozen start-ups in the tech sector. Delegates discovered more about what these organisations are working on, and how their cooperation within the cluster is structured.
If you could not join us for this event or if you want to watch it again, the recording is available here.
More pictures available here.