Bucharest, 26th April 2012. In the framework of the South-East European Network of Excellence for Cluster Organisations - SEENECO project,13 high-level policy experts from Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Serbia, assembled in Bucharest in the occasion of a ground-breaking Cluster Benchmarking Training facilitated by certified experts from the European Secretariat for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) – VDI | VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH. This training, which aims to “train-the-trainers” in a professional manner so that they will be able to perform cluster benchmarking assessments at national and international level, is the very first training delivered at European level that utilizes the cluster benchmarking methodology and the respective content that has been developed specifically for that purpose within the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI).
SEENECO’s overall goal is to raise the excellence of clusters and cluster organisations in South-East European (SEE) countriesby applying advanced training and benchmarking tools towards “improving the framework conditions for innovation through […] world-class clusters and development of regional clusters and networks” in line with the respective Commission Communication. The SEE policy experts that participate in the training are fully committed to achieve this goal and contribute to sustainable cluster development in their regions by assessing and profiling existing SEE clusters so that better trans-national cluster cooperation can be realized at European level. The project is co-financed by the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) under the General Directorate for Enterprise and Industry (DG ENTR) of the European Commission.
Dr. Nikos Vogiatzis, SEENECO Project Coordinator, representing the Lead Partner, Corallia, Greece, commented: “We are truly excited to have embarked in our cluster excellence journey with the first milestone being the Cluster Benchmarking Training, which we consider of vital importance for our cluster development and sustainability plans, both at SEE regional policy level as well as at National policy level for each project partner. All project partners look forward to work closer at policy level as well as acquire knowledge and skills that will help us proliferate and apply professional cluster benchmarking activities in our countries, thus contributing our share towards European cluster management excellence, an objective of truly strategic importance”.
Mr. Thomas Lämmer-Gamp, ESCA Director, while asked to highlight the importance of this training for cluster policy makers in SEE, he mentioned: “Benchmarking is a key element in order to grasp the quality and depth of the cooperation among cluster members and cluster management, to assess the contribution of all cluster stakeholders towards cluster sustainability, and to analyze cluster development strategy and services. The differentiating element of this benchmarking approach is its quality and content, which allows for gathering substantial and very accurate information for clusters and cluster organisations, thus becoming a useful, practical tool for policy making in cluster development”.
The main project objective of the South-East European Network-of-Excellence of Cluster Organisations ‘SEENECO’ project is to promote cluster management professionalism in SEE by applying advanced training and benchmarking tools developed under the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI). SEENECO will bring together a number of key national institutions from SEE countries to allow for further exploitation of the results of ECEI at regional level.
The partners represent national and regional authorities and cluster initiatives, having the official mandate to develop and implement cluster programmes, and will undertake and focus their efforts on the following action lines:
- Transfer of knowledge, material and methodologies developed by ECEI (on cluster management, benchmarking, etc) to the SEENECO partnership.
- Development of sustainable training structures that can replicate and localise the material and transfer the knowledge further in SEE cluster organisations and clusters.
- Contribute to the development of a European portfolio of “excellent” cluster organisations.
- Support the international cluster cooperation by offering SEE cluster organisations the opportunity to network at European and international level, both through the European Cluster Collaboration Platform and through direct interaction between cluster managers in SEE and experienced peers in other CIP countries.
As a result of the above, the project aspires to achieve stronger cooperation among cluster policy makers in participating countries and –given their geographical distribution– strengthen the cluster policies in the SEE meta-region, in line also with the Danube region EU strategy.
All partners (Corallia Clusters Initiative Unit, Greece; Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy and Tourism; Croatian Chamber of Economy; Romanian Ministry of Economy; Serbian Ministry of Economy and Regional Development & Serbian National Agency for Regional Development) have a common denominator in their interest to participate in the project: the goal to make best use of the knowledge and experience available and build upon it towards sustainable structures for excellent cluster management in their countries.
Mrs. Julia Phoca, SEENECO Project Manager/ Corallia,
T: +30.210.63.00.770 | e: email@example.com.