Meeting, sharing and building networking opportunities between EU water clusters from the Netherlands, Spain and France

Submitted by Imogen Allan on 12 November 2021

In November 2020, the French competitiveness cluster France Water Team invited 2 other water clusters ZINNAE (Spain) & Water Alliance (Netherlands) to meet and work together on a new type of event that would foster collaboration opportunities for their members and beyond.

With the support of the BLUES Partnership, the 3 water clusters met through a virtual eClusterXchange that was organised from 21 December 2020 to 2 January 2021. Despite the circumstances of the pandemic, the three clusters managed to meet at least twice a week for six weeks in order to discuss and work on the event preparation. Thanks to the exchange, the participants were able to share their know-how on:

  • Operational tasks related to event organisation (e.g., building a budget, defining a programme, EU event logistics, communication strategies…)
  • EU funding (e.g., Horizon Europe calls and financing opportunities)
  • Cluster strategy

In total, more than 12 meetings were held, leading to the creation of “The WINNing days - Water Innovation Networking days”. The first edition of The WINNing Days event was organised at the very end of the exchange (2 January 2021) and gathered more than 150 participants from all over Europe. Without the exchange and the support of ZINNAE and Water Alliance, it would have been impossible for France Water Team to organise such an event. Thus, the exchange led to the beginning of a strong and long-term relationship.

Considering the success of the event organised at the end of the exchange, the three clusters agreed to push forward the collaboration by organising other “WINNing Days” events. The exchange laid down the foundations for a long-term collaboration and friendship between the three cluster organisations, and opened new opportunities for them and the water sector.

“In this exchange, ZINNAE has built a strong relationship with two other water clusters in Europe. The regular meetings led us to know each other better and to strengthen our relationship. We created a team which allows ZINNAE to provide additional support for our SMEs to develop innovative solutions in Europe.” explained Marisa Fernández, Cluster manager.

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