I had the pleasure of participating in the first #TechDays, a EU-South MED Cluster matchmaking event that took place in Casablanca, Morocco. It has been a great experience attending the three-day Techdays event on behalf of The Cluster of Mechatronics Tunisia, where I met many experienced, intelligent and sharp international cluster managers and field experts. I think this event was very well organized and very successful. I fully enjoyed engaging in constructive group discussion sessions and learning about the clusters. A very informative workshop session was delivered by Mr Alain Tubiana - an international expert and consultant on cluster management, on how to develop successful C2C cooperation between South MED countries.
Maroua Nouira, Communication Officer at Novation City The Competitiveness Pole of Sousse (Cluster Mechatronic Tunisie)
ECCP Matchmaking Events Feedback
The matchmaking events are a backbone of the ECCP and it is important to see how participants experience them, what are the outcomes of the numerous meetings to explore cooperation opportunities. We present you below a few impressions shared by cluster participants.
"An amazing event. I made contacts with very relevant people and we have already taken next steps in cooperation and establishment of genuine partnership between Canada and our region. I would particularly like to emphasize the organizer's readiness to add value to each activity and to encourage further connecting."
Goran Mladenovic, Cluster Manager of the NiCAT Cluster (Serbia)
Lubos Komarek, Cluster Manager of the Nanoprogress cluster (Czech Republic) shares his impressions right after the EU-Canada high level cluster cooperation event in the context of the Hanover Fair on 1-2 April 2019 that was the main anchor event of the EU Cluster Weeks initiative.
Merete Nørby, International Senior Consultant, Ph.D. at MADE – Manufacturing Academy of Denmark cluster
ECCP: How did you experience the EU-CAN cluster cooperation event?
M.N: This was the first time for me to participate in a EU cluster matchmaking event. I was very glad to be offered the opportunity to participate. The fact that you have to apply and forward information about you cluster and motivation for participating is a very good idea and helps to assure that the event is taken seriously. I liked the intro with short and personal presentations setting the scene. It was good that you had both the EU hosts and Canadian visitors in the same panel session. Also it was nice that several people stayed also for the tours and also for the reception, where we got a good chance to talk and get to know each other a little better and introduce other views.
ECCP: Did your participation make a difference for your cluster?
M.N: I got a chance to meet both with the Canadian delegation and also made new contacts to European clusters that I did not know before. The talks I had with individuals from Canada – especially the ones related to Advanced Manufacturing – gave me an interesting insight, that inspired me to sign up for the Toronto event. The fact that the Hannover EU-Can event was so well organized and the content and people attracting, have given me the proof that using time and resources for the Toronto event can be worthwhile. I would most likely not have signed up for the Toronto event, if I had not had the good indications from the Hannover event.
ECCP: Are there any learnings/outcomes/future perspectives for collaboration?
M.N.: It was very effective this way to get to know people much better than through a telco or an event with just presentations. The discussions in sub groups where all participants gave a short intro was very effective. I also enjoyed the bus ride talks – a big bus giving the possibility to move around and talk to several people was a good idea. Some of us could confirm that we would already meet again at EUREKA event in Manchester in May. Also I had a chance to bring some information about European projects to the table, where for instance I4MS and C-Voucher could be of interest for the Canadians.
ECCP: Any concrete ideas for next steps?
M.N: Writing and sharing one-pagers on concrete project ideas is definitely one important step forward. Perhaps a template for such ideas in a very short form could be a push towards more concrete cooperation. Physical meetings are always a good way to make sure things progress – this way having the Bucharest Cluster event, the Manchester EUREKA event and the Toronto CAN Supercluster event coming up is good motivation. Supplementary perhaps announcing a follow up telco could be a good idea – for next time.
Finally I would just express my thanks for organizing the EU-Canada event in Hannover - it was indeed rewarding and a pleasure to participate.
"The EU-Canada Cluster Cooperation Event at Hannover Messe was a great success from my perspective. It gave me, as leader of Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, a good opportunity to meet other cluster leaders who are interested in partnering with Canadian companies and cluster initiatives. I made many friends over the two days of the event and learned much about the common challenges we all face and a great deal about best practices in encouraging collaboration on the part of companies, and especially the engagement of SMEs, in cluster initiatives. I’m struck by how much we share in our objectives as cluster leaders, and how important it is to work together to learn from each other and to find new opportunities for our members. It is important for Canadian companies to find partners in the EU, but our shared ambition is really global in scope. I know that we will be following up on the contacts we made in Hannover. And, I look forward to welcoming a delegation of European clusters to Toronto in June."
Jayson Myers - CEO, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada, Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster
"This was the first time I have attended a EU Cluster event, as part of the EU -Canada initiative, on behalf of ReMAP cluster. ReMAP - Refined Manufacturing Acceleration Process is focused on advanced manufacturing and bringing electronic and optical products to market. I found this event very productive. We face similar challenges, and we can work together to be more relevant to the global economy. There were formal opportunities to connect with similar clusters in the EU and there were informal opportunities to create relationships and potential future partnerships. I am looking forward to the cluster event in Toronto in June 5-7, where some of the ReMAP members can connect with the EU clusters, and collaborate on bringing globally competitive products to market."
Irene Sterian, P.Eng - President & CEO, ReMAP Cluster, Director, Technology & Innovation, Celestica
“The EU-Korea Matchmaking Event was interesting. I had the opportunity to participate to the EU-Korea matchmaking event in Vienna. The event was perfectly organized, from the matchmaking sessions thanks to B2match... to the site visit with an interesting overview of an Energy competence centre. I expect at least 25% of my exchanges to turn into future cluster collaborations”Thomas Colombeau, ALPHA-Route des Lasers & des Hyperfréquences
After attending the “EU Cluster Mission to the USA”, the Maritime Technology Cluster FVG S.c.ar.l. had the possibility to keep the contacts with American clusters and enhance the collaboration among two territories. Both in Autumn and in March the cluster representatives met The Maritime Alliance cluster in Venice and London and discussed about tools and means to link the two territories and respective enterprises. Forthcoming, in March in Rome, a dedicated networking event was organized among Italian and American enterprises and other research centers and aggregation players. The Maritime Technology Cluster FVG S.c.ar.l. had the possibility to meet again The Maritime Alliance and also to meet the cluster MIST, sharing ideas of collaboration and events or initiatives organized by both sides that could be joined and diffused not only by clusters but also to enterprises. In this sense, the mission to the USA has represented for the cluster an important moment to strengthen relations and to increase cooperation and exchange of best practices. Enterprises had an overview of stakeholders active in technology and production sectors, their role, how to get in contact with them and how be supported to relate and collaborate with them.
Carlo Kraskovic, Project Manager Maritime Technology Cluster FVG S.c.ar.l.
“As a newly established cluster, first step is too be visible. Through ECCP we had the opportunity to participate at several matchmaking events. We already met almost 1000 people who represent or have relation with clusters. In the past 3 years we invested a lot of our resources in order to have success in the future. It pays off!”Kinga Kristó, Cluster Manager of Transylvanian Mechanical Engineering Cluster
“The cluster matchmaking event in the context of the 3rd EU-Taiwan Industry dialogue was my first experience in such an event, and it was my first time with Taiwanese clusters. It was a great opportunity to know better about the Taiwanese industrial environment.
A very important thing was to have the opportunity to meet the Taiwanese research centers to collaborate on R&D projects, also through the tools available to the European Commission.
Our next goal, as a cluster, is to organize a mission in Taiwan with our companies and the contacts created through this event will make it easier!”Roberto Caminiti, Technical Advisor, Mesap Innovation Cluster
“For SYSTEMATIC Paris Region, the Eu-Taiwan B2B and matchmaking event organised in Brussels helped us to establish contacts with Taiwanese business associations and research clusters from various sectors (5G, Manufacturing (smart industry). During the conferences we gained insights on experience of Industry 4.0 in Taiwan and also several European countries (Such as Germany). Smart industry thematic is important for our members and our Region (topic from the Paris Region S3)
As a follow up, we have had the visit of a Taiwanese delegation in our facilities in Paris-Saclay (Site of Nano Innov). An exceptional occasion to establish contacts between cluster' companies and our guests. Now, we are looking forward to the next step and feedback from both parts!”Isabell de Sutter, Responsable Europe, Head of European Affairs, SYSTEMATIC PARIS-REGION
“The EU – Taiwan Cluster Matchmaking Event was very interesting. It was the first time that Cluster Inteligentna Energija met with Taiwanese organizations and therefore, it was a good opportunity to learn about their business culture as well as know more about their vision regarding Croatia. In fact, I believe I found some potential collaborations in the power industry and waste management. In addition, the seminars were very useful since they provided insightful information about renewable energy sources. We gained more understanding about what the world is doing and found some interesting things for our cluster.”Mladen Perkov, dipl.ing.el.,MBA cluster managerINTELIGENTNA ENERGIJA
“ECCP matchmaking mission in Thessaloniki, as long as all the other events organised by the ECCP was a very applied and concrete event and it offered the perfect environment for making new contacts, best practices sharing and links for future projects. It was a great experience, a lot of innovative ideas and good vibes from Clusters all over Balkan&Med area and Western Europe”Bianca Muntean, iTech Transilvania Cluster Manager
“The High-level EU Cluster Mission to the US was a great opportunity to understand how the innovation ecosystem works there. We had an opportunity to exchange experiences with different kind of entities, from business support institutions, through R&D institutions, up to the VC ecosystem. It was a fruitful set of C2C matchmaking meetings and direct visits at local institutions.
We came back with promising contacts and knowledge about the wide range of services offered by the US organisations what let us develop further cooperation. As an ICT cluster we are very satisfied that we confirmed during this meetings that there is a need for better collaboration between the US business environment and the European ICT sector as well as we get concrete tools to make this collaboration possible.”Marcin Paradowski, ECDF mKlaster, Poland
“Thanks to everyone involved in the EU-US Bilateral Cluster Mission. I can’t speak highly enough of what a fantastic opportunity it was for Cambridge Cleantech as a technology cluster. I met over 70 potential collaborators and since returning have already followed up with 3 potential partner organisations with concrete next step actions, (two meetings scheduled in London and an outline for a US-EU Summit on Smart Grid Technology). Participating on the mission with over 20 other EU technology clusters was also extremely valuable and has exponentially grown our international network with other technology clusters in Europe within the space of just a few days. Likewise, this has already led to a concrete joint bidding activity for cluster collaboration.
I was impressed with the work and activity of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform before this mission but now I’m positively evangelical; active participation in international cluster collaboration is hugely valuable for our members – particularly those who are looking for international research and collaboration opportunities - and the ECCP is a fantastic source of information and resources for us to support them in doing this. Thanks again to everyone who was involved and organised such a fantastic mission – I can’t stop telling people about it and it was a real privilege to be involved :).”Sam Goodall, Cambridge Cleantech, UK
« The European mission was a very fruitful event for us. From one part, the program explorating the US East Coast provided us a good picture of the innovation and economical practices, which is very different compared to the well-known Silicon Valley. We met very open-mindset counterparts, with a real willingness to build collaborative projects with European entities.
Also, we discovered different organizations involved in the local economy: Ben Franklin organisation helping the companies to set up in Pennsylvania, Navy Yard organizing economic and social life, Fraunhofer centers innovating in US, Manufacturing USA supporting US industry to be more competitive with a national and specialized projects with laboratories (like our Factory Of Future, Industry 4.0), Singh Center (University of Pennsylvania) with huge R&D portfolio, … and an amazing “start-up push” process (Community innovation Collaboration) bearing the American entrepreneurship spirit.”Vincent Civita, cluster manager of ARIA Normandy, France
“During the High-Level US-Cluster-Missions, I gathered lots of useful information and even more contacts for our cluster and the members, respectively. The learnings for our cluster regarding the remarkable entrepreneurial and seed-capital as well as VC ecosystem in Philadelphia (PE) and Boston/Cambridge (MA) will help our members, once they start their business in these regions.
For R&D opportunities the Singh Center for Nanotechnology in Philadelphia was a very promising visit to connect with some of our research institutes. The meetings with MassTLC and MassCEC in Boston showed outstanding opportunities on the C2C-basis and furthermore some of our members in the wind turbine branch may conduct new businesses in the near future.”Stefan Uhlig, Senior Projektmanager, Cool Silicon e.V.
“It was a very interesting, useful visit for our cluster from the point of view of companies as well as research institutions. We could collect a lot of good examples of bridging industry and academia, rules of conducting research projects for companies, we could get familiar with and understand the American approach to interactions between science and industry, even if it is not called “cluster interactions”.
The lesson learned will be taken to Poland in order to implement the American model of thinking: Technology and demonstration + Training and education. We plan to find the complementary area of cooperation with the USA market, e.g. with regards to energy efficiency and energy saving technology, small scale RES technology, RES technology for e-mobility or waste-to energy technologies.”Ewa Kochańska, Research and Innovation Center Pro-Akademia, Poland
“The US cluster mission including the matchmaking event during the TechConnect Conference has been very fruitful by giving the opportunity to better understand the way American clusters are acting and developing their innovation eco-systems. This enabled to get leading edge practices in the combination of technology and business oriented communities for the benefit of start-ups and innovative companies. For our particular interest, we have been able to build up promising connections with cluster or economic development organizations in Pennsylvania such as Ben Franklin Technology Partners, or in Ohio such as Team Neo, as well as Mass TLC in Massachusetts.
As complementary, the TechConnect annual conference in Washington brought us some key insights in technology trends related to our fields of interest such as material technologies, printed electronics, 3D printing or advanced manufacturing.”Patrick Vuillermoz, PLASTIPOLIS, France
“biosaxony is the association of life sciences industries in the Free State of Saxony (Germany). Our focus areas are biotechnology, medical devices and health. With over 110 members we are active in site marketing, technology transfer and business development. The cluster mission to the U.S. was a great opportunity for biosaxony to start collaboration with US clusters and business development agencies. The support services for soft landing and technology transfer of Ben Franklin Technology Partners in Philadelphia and the Cambridge Innovation Centre in Boston were particular interesting for us. The trip was well organized and we had the opportunity to talk to different stakeholders from universities, development agencies, cluster associations and start-up incubators.”Madlen Schiller, biosaxony e.V., Germany
“The mission was helpful to understand how the innovation and acceleration services work in the USA. We got to meet different kind of entities and organisations that can be approached when searching for partners to support companies in their internationalisation processes, whether it is to open an office, analyse the market, develop joint projects or search for potential investors. The visits held in both Philadelphia (PA) and Boston (MA) gave us clusters a good perspective on the interest and goals of the US’ organisations we met and allowed us to start a dialogue that can lead to collaboration and cooperation with them.
The matchmaking B2B meetings, in Washington DC, were effective, having more time to get to know the entities and have a deeper insight of how we can collaborate together. Torino Wireless manages 2 clusters that address ICT applied to different fields and sectors, with a particular emphasis in Smart Cities and Communities solutions, so, even if some of the meetings were centred in a specific sector (for example life sciences, biotech, etc.), I found interesting potentialities for ICT as an enabling solution.”Silvana Sanfeliu, Business Analyst, Fondazione Torino Wireless, Italy
“EU Cluster Mission to USA has been significantly important to further Lublin Medicine - Medical and Wellness Cluster development. During five days, thanks to good organization of the mission we had an opportunity to meet a number of key market and research players. We have gained the knowledge about the US system supporting economic and scientific development. We could also discuss the business model of our potential partners.
Matchmaking meetings in Washington allowed us to introduce our cluster directly to US and European organizations. The scope of potential cooperation has been defined. In two cases, we have already decided on signing the agreement on cooperation in the nearest future. Meetings in Philadelphia and Boston besides very professional presentations gave us an opportunity to meet personally people who are in charge of well-recognized US institutions. After being back to Poland and Lublin we have started to work on individual bases with partners we had met, structuring our initial ideas for cooperation.”Marzena Strok-Sadło, Lublin Medicine Cluster, Poland
“The mission has represented a great opportunity to getting aware about innovation and technology development framework in the USA, providing information on several actors with different competences and roles. Since our cluster is involved in the maritime technologies sector, during the matchmaking event we had the possibility to meet three American cluster focused on different maritime and marine topics.
The before mentioned meetings helped us understand what they do and gave us the possibility to get more details on maritime topics that we could develop in the future.”Carlo Kraskovic, Project Manager, Mare FvG, Italy
“The matchmaking event in Washington, DC, was efficient for me, as I could discuss some opportunities of collaboration for our cluster and our members. As for the visits, I would be interested to learn more about the access opportunities and mechanisms for European companies to the Manufacturing America program that was presented to us.
When visiting the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA, I realized that a number of our cluster’s member companies have already used the incubation and consulting services which were a great information mechanism for them and allowed them to enter the US market for sales whilst growing steadily in the EU. Their testimonials could be a great inspiration for others.”Peter Simkens, cluster manager of DSP Valley, Belgium
“My cluster is active in the fields of Biomedicine, Biotechnology, e-Health and Ambient Assisted Living, so the cluster visits in Philadelphia, PA, which is a hub for life sciences, were of particular interest to me. It was very useful to understand the research and innovation landscape in the USA thanks to the presentations, meetings and visits, as it differs from the system we know from Europe. I am glad I can bring specific information home to my cluster’s member companies: indeed, I could already schedule a concrete appointment for one company that is visiting Boston next week with the group in charge of the Biomanufacturing Program at MIT, and with the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation, two of the organisations met in Boston during our cluster visit.”Laura Cerni, cluster manager CBM srl, Italy
New: Watch the video of the EU-US cluster matchmaking event at Hannover Messe 2016 with testimonials from participating clusters
Andrea Golfieri, EASME; Christophe Guichard, DG Growth European Commission; Marc Pattinson, inno TSD, ECCP coordinator; Bryan Borlik, US Department of Commerce; Tshanda Kalombo, US Department of Commerce; Eva Fadil, inno TSD, ECCP project manager
“The opportunity to meet with European clusters at the Hannover Messe generated huge interest from U.S. clusters and economic development organisations. Many of them told me that they really benefited from exchanging information and learning about European clusters in advanced manufacturing. The matchmaking event was well-organised which allowed the participants to focus on making contacts and establishing relationships.”Tshanda Kalombo, Department of Commerce, US, co-organiser of the EU-US matchmaking event at Hannover Messe on 24-25 April 2016
“This EU-US matchmaking event gave us, as cluster and also as one partner of an ESCP-4i, the chance to get in contact and to develop collaborations with other participating clusters and their business members from Europe and the USA. During these 2 days I had in total 16 very interesting and informative meetings and I am sure we will cooperate together with some of the European and also with the US clusters. For us, as a plasma technology cluster, the mixture of clusters from different fields like industrial automation, IT, water, energy and environmental technology, industrial supply, production engineering and services, as well as research and development were perfect. Furthermore, it was also very interesting to learn more about the US Economic Development Organisations and how they work and I am sure we will work very closely together with them in the near future. I would really like to say thank you to the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) and the Enterprise Europe Network for the organisation of this fruitful event.”Katherina Ulrich Project Manager at BalticNet-PlasmaTec and Project leader of the European Strategic Cluster Partnership – Going International (ESCP-4i) called AdPack - Future Materials and products for advanced smart packaging
“You have done a great job! The matchmaking event was really interesting and also the profiling process on the ECCP web platform shows that you privilege a quality approach.”Bianca Muntean, iTECH TRANSYLVANIA CLUSTER by ARIES, Romania
“The cluster matchmaking is very useful for us – we vote for such events!”
Smilja Krajinovic, VOJVODINA ICT CLUSTER, Serbia
“The Cluster Matchmaking Event organised in the context of the European Innovation Week in Taiwan (May 30th – June 1st 2016) allowed GAIA to establish contacts with other clusters and business associations in the ICT and electronic sector.
At the same time, we could gain insight into the trends of Industry 4.0 in Taiwan and also in European countries such as Germany and France. Furthermore, GAIA had the chance to present its projects and activities in the Basque Country, especially those being implemented in the scope of Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities.”Cristina Murillo, Cluster Services Manager of GAIA - Association of Electronic and Information Technologies in the Basque Country
“The seminars presented at the European Innovation Week explored a wide range of very interesting topics, focusing and capturing at any time the attention of the audience. The material provided during the event was useful to better follow the topics, as well as a starting point to be able to individually develop certain opportunities. On top of all, this event has been a great opportunity to meet clusters and business persons and local companies. The event gave to all of us, I believe, a quite deep insight in the local economy, paving the way for future developments and contacts.
The company visits were absolutely of interest and for sure gave us the flavour of the development spirit and the possibility to have direct contacts with high level management bodies, setting a first link which may open interesting perspectives for the future. Last but not least, The European Innovation Week was very well organized in terms of contents, choice of hosting structures, as well as from the logistical standpoint. Outstanding support by the staff of TAITRA, ITRI, ECCT, BOFT and SPI (among others) has been of great help both in the pre-mission preparation phase (registration, profiling, meetings management planning) as well as during the whole week. Travel management has been of great help in optimizing the use of the time, always too short during these events.
All my appreciation and thanks to all the persons who have been involved in this heavy organization work!”Paolo Piccinelli, Cluster Network Development Manager of Fondazione Distretto Green & High Tech Monza Biranza
“We, the Bulgaria ICT Cluster, were part of the EU ICT Clusters Delegation to Taiwan at the European Innovation Week within Computex in Taipei. As part of this week, we had great one-on-one meetings and networking events, giving us the tremendous opportunity to initiate business cooperation with Taiwan. With the exceptional organization of the event, we very effectively met numerous Taiwanese companies and associations, as well as EU clusters with which we can intensify or initiate collaboration as organizations, but also for our member companies.
We believe these type of activities are excellent opportunities for small clusters such as ours, giving us an efficient and cost effective way to help our IT SMEs open up new markets. We believe these types of initiatives should be replicated and increased as they are very interesting and useful.”
Filip Stoyanovich, Founding Board Member of the Bulgarian ICT Cluster