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2018 EU-Ukraine Cluster Policy Learning and Matchmaking Event in Kyiv

In the context of the High Level Industrial Dialogue between the EU and Ukraine, Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) organised the EU-Ukraine Cluster Policy Learning and Matchmaking Event on March 27 and March 28 in Kyiv.

The Matchmaking Event gathered representatives of over 50 cluster organisations from Ukraine and other 12 COSME countries (Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Spain, Ireland, Poland and Hungary) for cross-sectorial meetings in the field of Information Technology, Agro/Food, Eco-energy and Building and Construction, Transport and Logistics, and Textile.  The cluster organisations managed to strike up for more than 90 successful matchmaking meetings and received practical advice on how to implement successfully cross-border and cross-sector collaborations.

The first day of the event started with introductory remarks from Oleksandr Chernykh, the Head of Industrial Policy Department, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. Mr Chernykh presented the Strategy of Development of Industrial Complex of Ukraine and highlighted opportunities for industrial collaboration between Ukraine and Europe. Low production costs and logistics costs together with highly educated Ukrainians are key benefits of the market. The country has also obtained its membership in free trade zones with EU, EFTA, Canada and CIS countries that enables easier trade relations.

Slawormir Tokarski, the Director of Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing from DG GROW, European Commission, presented an overview of the role of clusters in the EU strategy and the importance of cluster collaboration between EU and Ukraine with a high potential of mutual economic growth. Mr Tokarski also noted that cluster cooperation is very practical and creates important partnerships that goes beyond politics. Cluster cooperation connects clusters and enhances economic growth and creates jobs for citizens and companies.

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The Cluster Policy and Matchmaking Event in Ukraine follows the enforcement of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement to stimulate further economic growth and prosperity between Europe and Ukraine. According to Eurostat, in the first half of 2017, the agreement has already resulted in 23% growth in trade on both sides. Venture Capital Investment in Ukraine has increased 231% in 2017 compared to 2016, reaching a volume of € 216 million in 2017. This event reinforced a unique opportunity for European and Ukrainian clusters to explore common areas of interest for cooperation.

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Ukrainian First Vice Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv delivered a keynote speech on cluster collaboration between the EU and Ukraine. Mr Kubiv noted that while Ukraine is on the process of adapting the best practices from EU, businesses have achieved a lot of progress in last three years after removing technical barriers in Ukraine. The event as such helps Ukrainian companies to corporate and anticipate business clusters to find partners and become a competitor in the global market.

European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska in her keynote speech expressed the need for long-term cooperation between Ukrainian and EU strategic partners applying more efficient bottom up approach for cluster collaboration.   “Clusters are good example what we do for SMEs in Europe, they are innovative and create many jobs” and therefore SMEs need long-term cooperation with strategic partners to be able to sustain their activities and have added value. This event is a great chance for policy makers and businesses to learn best practices and think how to develop public sector programmes to support their clusters organisations.

The stage setting was followed by discussions on cluster policy developments in several EU Member States and exchange of good practices between Ukraine and EU. Cluster policy developments were elaborated by Nino Damenia, Associate expert, Reform Support Team, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Mrs Dameniia presented an overview of cluster role in the Ukrainian economy and regulatory environment for clusters in the country. Peter Keller, International and Cluster Unit, Ministry for National Economy of Hungary, presented the cluster ecosystem and lessons learned in Hungary. Mr Peter Keller explained the different of level of support for cluster development in Hungary and noted sustainability issues of cluster activities.

Katarzyna Kuza, Innovation Department, Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology of Poland, demonstrated the development of the cluster policy in Poland and its results. Currently Poland has 16 national clusters over 1195 members. Nicolas Perrin, from the Embassy of France in Ukraine gave an overview of French cluster policy, successful projects and actions while highlighting that the importance of the government supports for clusters, as a tool for education and research, aiming to create competitiveness in the market. Finally, Oana Rujan, iTech Transilvania Cluster by ARIES T, Romania introduced Cluster policy, its achievements and current challenges in Romania.

Marc Pattinson, the Project Coordinator of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP), briefly delivered an overview of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform services and the EAP+ H2020 Project.

 

In addition to the policy-learning programme, concreate EU-Ukraine Cluster Cooperation showcases were presented. Mariia Makhnovets, Ukrainian Food Valley, and Giedrius Bakusinskas, Lithuanian Smart Food Cluster presented an overview of existing agri-food cluster collaboration between Ukraine and Lithuania. Lyudmyla Shyyko, Precrapathian eco-energy cluster, Ukraine and Ramon Vivanco Mugarra, ArchEnerg, Hungary shared an overview of international cooperation in the eco-energy domain. Alexandre Yurchak, Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine, together with Tomasz Małecki and Michał Pukacz, the Polish Research and Development Cluster of the Internet of Things shared experiences in Ukraine developing the ecosystem in industrial hi-tech segments. The afternoon session was dedicated to the matchmaking sessions, where the 2 delegations had the chance to exchange ideas and identify possibilities for concreate collaboration for them and for their members.

 

"There is no recipe of good cluster collaboration, but working together and staying united are key" noted by Michal Pukacz from the Polish Research and Development Cluster of the Internet of Things

 

An interactive debriefing sessions closed the first day of event.  Feedback from the cluster organisations highlighted the usefulness of combining policy and learning opportunities with C2C activities as well as C2B with businesses from the event. The cross-sector focus of the event is an essential part of the event that needs to be enforced for the successful future collaboration.

On the second day, the representatives of cluster organisations were split in several groups for  site visits. One group of cluster organisations visited UNIT.City and UNIT.Factory coding school, while two other groups made a visit to the Ukrainian Logistics Alliance and the Green Garden Group. It was a great opportunity to observe how several industries operate in the country and how they collaborate with European counterparts.

 

A number of testimonials demonstrates the success of the event:

Johan Wasberg, Technology Center Oy Merinova, Vaasa, Finland

 “We are very happy about the EU-Ukraine Cluster Policy and Matchmaking Event. During the matchmaking, we identified two Ukrainian cluster with which we can start discussion about cooperation on a demo project for intelligent lightning. Both the Association of Industrial Automation of Ukraine and the Interstate Consultants Engineers Guild are potential partners in our new to be established international project for which we seek support from the Finish government.”

 

Julia Piven, Chernihiv IT Cluster, Ukraine

“The EU-Ukraine Cluster Policy Learning and Matchmaking Event was a big success for the Chernihiv IT Cluster. The Matchmaking event revealed many opportunities with the Cluj IT Cluster from Romania, as well as with the Vojvodina IT Cluster from Serbia. Apart from future opportunities in IT sector, I had a chance to discuss potential cross-sectorial collaboration with Geoscience Ireland from Ireland on the implementation of IT solutions in the eco-energy sector. Amongst the Ukrainian IT clusters and Agro-food clusters we have had fruitful discussions about cooperation as well as with the export promotion office of Ukraine. We hope that more similar events will be organized, because they are vital to reach EU clusters”. 

 

Artur Radzio, Mazovia Cluster ICT, Warsaw, Poland

“Mazovia Custer ICT is planning to intensify cooperation with Ukraine by organizing a matchmaking event with Ukrainian companies in 2018. The project is funded by the by the European regional development fund (ERDF) as a part of the internationalisation of National Key Clusters in the frame of the Smart Growth Operational Programme, which is actively supported by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP). The upcoming Matchmaking session will gather Polish and Ukrainian companies in the ICT sector. For the Mazovia Cluster ICT, the EU-Ukraine Cluster Policy and Matchmaking Event was instrumental in identifying Ukrainian clusters which can help in identifying Ukrainian IT companies to be invited to this bilateral event.”

 

Further contacts:

 

The European Cluster Collaboration Platform Team:

EU and Ukrainian cluster profiles can be found at www.clustercollaboration.eu

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