The 4th Cluster Matchmaking Conference, Warsaw
500 meetings in three hours
Earlier this week 250 participants representing 150 different clusters from 30 European countries met in Warsaw for the 4th Cluster Matchmaking Conference
Undersecretary of State in the Polish Ministry of Economic Development, Ms. Jadwiga Emilewcz (photo), opened the conference.
The annual cluster-to-cluster matchmaking conference provides a forum for developing ideas for international collaboration. The participants found the keynotes and learnings from other clusters inspirational. Nevertheless, as with the previous three conferences, there was a general agreement that matchmaking is a very important part of the event.
Fruitful meetings The matchmaking sessions are like speed dating, where participants have 20 minutes to find out if they have something interesting to offer each other. In three hours there were 500 meetings. And many of them were afterwards referred to as fruitful.
Two clusters, AgroBioCluster/UNIMOS and Latvian Food Products Quality Cluster signed an international cooperation agreement after the matchmaking. Coordinator of Intersectoral Cooperation at AgroBioCluster/UNIMOS, Katarzyna Kowalska elaborates:
”We will be working on co-developing new added-value products in agrofood & packaging sector, as well as in internationalisation of our members and intercluster cooperation. We will also co-develop UNIMOS Global Alliance – cross-sectoral & cross-cluster network based on trust and shared values that support international collaboration between Latin America, Europe and Caucasus.”
Also one of the Danish cluster, Transportens Innovationsnetværk, went home with an agreement:
”I met with three different clusters, which were all well-prepared. One of the meetings was with a Swedish cluster and we agreed to host a joined innovation event later this year,” says Cluster Manager Lone Reppien Thomsen.
As a consequence of Brexit, CEO Dr. Andrew Mair and his colleagues from Midlands Aerospace Alliance know they have to make an even larger effort in regards to internationalisation and international collaborations. Participating in the 4th Cluster Matchmaking Conference in Warsaw was the ideal place to do so. According to Andrew Mair, he benefitted on two levels:
“Firstly, I have learned more about the ecosystem from all the experienced people from Enterprise Europe Network and other organisations. And secondly, I got to know more European clusters. During the matchmaking sessions I had two good meetings which may lead to an INTERREG project.”
After the event, Werner Pilsner from the German cluster Ecoliance, said: “It was an extraordinary great event and meetings. I’ve learned so much that I am keen to implement immediately in my cluster.”
Innovation Express Even though it is difficult to measure the actual outcome, the organisers know that many ideas for cluster collaboration were developed during the two days in Warsaw. And Innovation Express Project Manager of the Innovation Express Call, Hans Henrik Lomholt at the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation, expects to see some of these ideas when the proposals are submitted for the Innovation Express call at the 31 October deadline.
Innovation Express is a joint call for proposals implemented within the framework of BSR Stars. The call is funded by national/regional funding agencies to initiate, develop or enhance transnational cooperation activities – leveraging cluster organisations (or similar) to develop proposals for their SME members.
The European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) was invited to introduce its services supporting international cluster collaboration and its communication manager, Lucia Seel, had many direct discussions with its users (current and potential ones).
The 4th Cluster Matchmaking Conference was sponsored by Nordic Council of Ministries and organised by BSR Stars, Enterprise Europe Network in collaboration with Cluster Excellence Denmark.
For further information, please contact Hans Henrik Lomholt Ph: +45 7231 8427 E-mail: hhl [at] fi.dk