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The Flemish cluster network

Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (in Dutch: AgentschapInnoveren&Ondernemen) is a government agency, in charge with implementing the economic, innovation and enterprise policy in Flanders, the Dutch speaking, northern part of Belgium. It also promotes and supports clusters consisting of enterprises and knowledge institutions that are collaborating dynamically.

Cluster policy in Flanders

On 4 March 2016, the Flemish government approved the resolution that defines the support for innovation clusters in Flanders. Its main goals are: to unlock unused economic potential and to increase competitiveness among Flemish companies through active and sustainable collaboration between actors.

Within the Flemish cluster program, we focus on companies with growth ambitions, innovation awareness, an international attitude as well as willingness to collaborate with other companies and knowledge centres in order to contribute to competitiveness growth among a large group of Flemish companies, apart from achieving their individual company targets.

The Flemish cluster policy distinguishes two types of clusters, namely: innovative company networks and spearhead clusters.

Innovative company networks

Innovative company networks (ICNs) are intensively collaborating organizations aiming to increase the dynamic between them. The networks are expected to implement concrete action plans with a visible economic added value for each of the participating organizations. ICNs are typically small-scale initiatives with a support period of three years. This cluster type also includes mutual initiatives in upcoming domains.

Currently, Flanders supports 14 Innovative Company Networks. During 2018, several ICNs are expected to be added to this list.

The Flemish Innovative Company Networks are:

and you can find an overview of the Flemish Innovative Company Networks that are currently supported by FI&E here (in Dutch).

Spearhead clusters

Spearhead clusters differ from ICNs in terms of scale, maturity, time horizon and ambition level. They are typically large-scale, ambitiousand can receive up to 10 years of funding. Flemish spearhead clusters are limited in number, since they have to be active in a domain that is of strategic importance to Flanders.
They collaborate in a triple-helix format, with companies, knowledge centres and the government, in order to develop and implement an ambitious long-term strategy and competitiveness programme for the respective Flemish strategic domain. Currently, FI&E supports 5 spearhead clusters.

The Flemish spearhead clusters are:

and you can find an overview of the Flemish spearhead clusters supported by FI&E here.

Networking

The clusters are part of the FI&E network. In this network we bring together all organizations that are at the service of companies. This is a diverse group of partners: from interest groups and federations, from knowledge and research centers, cluster organizations, local authorities and government institutions, to private service providers such as banks, accountants and consultants.

Through this network we connect the network partners and promote the knowledge of each other's products, services and expertise. We do this through a varied annual program of activities that inspire, inform and bring together the network partners. Some initiatives are tailored to a certain group, others are open to the entire network.

Specific for the innovation clusters we organized several learning and networking events in the last two yearsand will keep doing so in the coming years.

For more information, please visit our website (in Dutch) or contact our team.

Participants discuss during a co-creation workshop organised by FI&E for the innovation clusters.

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