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Gebiedscoöperatie Westerkwartier

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General Information
The date when the cluster organisation was established: 
Tuesday, 10 December, 2013
Number of staff in the management team of the cluster organisation : 
1-5
Regions: 
Groningen
Other Label: 
Langman Award awarded by EURADA
Membership to other networks/partnerships: 
Cluster Management Team: 
NameSurnamePositionTelephoneEmailGender
Hans
Bergsma
Cluster Manager
h.bergsma@gcwk.nl
Male
Willem
Foorthuis
Other
+31610885963
w.r.foorthuis@hanze.nl
Male
Wobbe
Reindersma
Project Manager
w.reindersma@gcwk.nl
Male
Languages spoken: 
Dutch
English
German
Sectoral and Industrial Focus
Sectoral Industries: 
Agricultural Inputs and Services
Business Services
Technology fields: 
Socio-economic models, economic aspects
S3 EU priority areas: 
New or improved organisational models
New organisational models & social relations that meet social needs
Emerging industries: 
Environmental Industries
Areas of specialisation of the cluster not covered above: 
regional food chains
Composition of the cluster
Total number of members: 
649
Number of SME members: 
634
Number of start-ups among SME members: 
5
Number of larger company members: 
4
Number of research organisations/universities/technology centres: 
5
Entrepreneurship and scale-up support facilities in the cluster's ecosystem (see "Organisation type"): 
Organisation/Facility NameOrganisation/Facility TypeWebsite
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
Incubator
Name and link of major players: 
NameWebsiteType
Staatsbosbeheer
Larger Company
Rabobank
Larger Company
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
University
Cluster Strategy
Mission/Objectives: 

The 'Gebiedscoöperatie Westerkwartier' also known as the place-based cooperative Westerkwartier aims to strengthen the area in which it is situation which is the Westerkwartier area in the Province of Groningen in the North of the Netherlands. We support SME's and aim to understand their challenges so we can help them overcome them. The broader mission is to increase the regional resilience of Westerkwartier by being a change agent when it comes to agro-food, sustainability, social entrepreneurship and regional food chains. 

Do you have a formalised strategy?: 
Yes
Do you have a specific strategy focus that addresses internationalisation ?: 
Yes
Services
Support services provided: 
Internationalisation support (= Access to third countries markets)
Access to public support (regional/national programmes, innovation vouchers, etc.)
Facilitation of collaboration between members
Support of knowledge transfer
Innovation Management / Support of innovation processes (internal, external)
Details of support services: 

Our place-based cooperative is a service organization and we support our members in various ways depending on their needs. We connect members to relevant parties, this can be another SME for a partnership, a larger company for investments, the university for research or students for internships. We are currently developing the means to support the internationalization of SME's in our area for international knowledge transfer, import/export and other collaboration. 

Cooperation Activities
International Cooperation
The main countries targeted by the cluster organisation: 
Japan
Our cluster organisation undertook the following international activities to support our members: 
Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs
Trans-national Cooperation
The main countries targeted by the cluster organisation: 
Belgium
Finland
Poland
Spain
Sweden
Our cluster organisation undertook the following trans-national activities to support our members: 
Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs
Please explain: 

We are active in several EU wide INTERREG programmes, most prominently TraCS3 and Innoheis. We are also active in the Erasmus programme Embrace.

Which clusters do you collaborate with?: 
Mondragon Corporation in Spain
Support Programmes
Participation in Funded Support Programmes: 
European ProgrammesProject NameName & Description (Regional/National)
INTERREG

Innoheis and TraCS3

IBOSS - international business office for supporting sme's - partially funded by 'EEN' Enterprise Europe Network - this is a pilot to develop the means to support SME's in the area who want to internationalize

Promotion
Success Story / Achievements: 

We identified a large problem in our area and larger region which was the issue of complex and long food supply and processing chains. These long and complex chains are causing farmers in our area to lose value, business, bargaining power and future potential. Therefore we initiated the 'Food Factory' which will be a collection, processing and distribution plant in the region which will allow for shorter value chains which will be more environmentally sustainable and provide more value for local SME's - who are in turn our members.

Why should partners choose you for cooperation?: 

We are an example of a new type of place-based cluster organization, we are a true cooperative, multi-sectoral and work with partners from the quadruple helix (industry & SME, government, knowledge & innovation institutions and society at large). We are eager to learn and develop more so we can continue to grow and help our organization concept to be applied in other places as well. All that we learn we turn into value for our members and our region and the same knowledge and experience can be used to help your cluster organization too. We have a wide network, including a research group and contacts throughout the Netherlands and Europe in various industries (small and large organizations), government and knowledge and research institutions. We are also experienced when it comes to EU programmes like those from Interreg Europe. Most of our members are clusters themselves; when considering their respective members, our member pool includes over a thousand SME's.