300 participants co-create inspiring future cluster initiatives at the GROW your REGIOn conference

Submitted by Lucia Seel on 13 November 2017

The second edition of the GROW your REGIOn conference was held in Valencia, Spain, from 8 to 9 November 2017. 315 stakeholders from 25 countries shared their experiences and ideas about future actions for 'Boosting smart interregional collaboration through clusters'.

The event took place in ‘Veles e Vents’ in the Valencia harbour, where enthusiasm marked the results of the participant’s discussions. This led to ideas for 19 topics for future initiatives to boost strategic interregional collaboration.

The main takeaways:

  • interregional collaboration through clusters is a key tool for supporting innovation, industrial modernisation and the scaling up of SMEs
  • the right partners – policy-makers, SME intermediaries and industry – need to be involved
  • dedicated support, new initiatives and sustainable partnerships are needed to advance collaboration in specialised themes

The conference was opened by Ximo Puig, President of the Valencia Regional Government. After which, key note speeches were given by:

  • Antti Peltomaki, Deputy Director-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
  • Peter Berkowitz, Head of Unit for Smart and Sustainable Growth of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission
GROW your REGIOn 2017

Together they represented the 3 co-organisers of the event. (From left to right: Antti Peltomaki, Ximo Puig, Felipe Carrasco - ATEVAL)

Antti Peltomaki's statement that "Europe needs a real push for cross-fertilisation across regional and sectoral silos" was echoed by participants. They picked ‘Supporting cross-sectoral collaboration’ as most needed to accelerate industrial modernisation during the smart voting at the conference. Peltomaki added that "we need bottom-up commitments, industry engagement and regional efforts to become real European strategic partnerships".

The conference gathered speakers from 6 different Commission services dealing with industrial, regional, research and digital policies and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. They presented lessons learned and some views on the next generation of EU initiatives. This was complemented by views from speakers and participants that represented regional and national Ministries and authorities, as well cluster managers and other practitioners. Participants agreed that there is still work to be done to push for more smart inter-regional collaboration and discussed both bad and good practice in an interactive group discussion during the event.

GROW your REGIOn 2017

The event was closed by Ulla Engelmann, Head of Unit for Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship at the European Commission’s Director-General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. She presented the Commission's vision towards joint cluster initiatives and announced 2 initiatives  to be launched in 2017:

A short conference video brought the event to a successful end.

Side events

Participants networked and participated in 5 parallel pre-events, including:

Did you miss the conference? The next opportunities to participate are during the 1st ‘European cluster policy forum’ and cluster matchmaking at the EU Industry Day from 22 to 23 February 2018, and at the next European cluster conference in autumn 2018.

Find out more about GROW your REGIOn 2017:

GROW your REGIOn 2017

See the GROW your REGIOn output report on the dedicated page (available soon)

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