iCon, improving competitiveness of Slovenian and Italian companies

Strengthening the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises at the border area between Slovenia and Italy through innovation and collaborative entrepreneurship.

The iCon project was aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the border area between Slovenia and Italy. The main purpose of the project was the integration of SMEs, business support organizations and other business actors by the transfer of knowledge and technology, promotion of innovation and development of common services. This led to the improvement of the cooperation and performance of the SMEs in the border area, increasing the awareness and interest for investing in the border area.

 Services provided:

  • capacity-building and training for innovation and business support organizations to train them on tools and approaches for innovation and technology policy , clustering and cross-border networking
  • strategic advice for establishment of regional network of clusters and other networks
  • strategy and action plan preparation; guidelines for iCON Business Networks
  • revision of 8 network strategy papers and actions in order to ascertain if they support the successful and sustainable development of the networks
  • set up monitoring concept of iCON Business Networks
  • guidelines for sustainable development of iCON networks.

Project’s website

Date: 2011 – 2014

CluStrat, improving cluster competitiveness in Central Europe

The CluStrat project strived to develop a joint strategy on how to enhance the innovation capacity and competitiveness of clusters in Central Europe.

Maintaining and improving the competitiveness in innovation capacity of clusters in Central Europe, regarding changing and emerging market demands and fostering the inclusion of cross-cutting issues, such as internationalization, technology-transfer and gender equality in innovation processes.

The CluStrat project reinforced the proposition that clusters play an important role in  facilitating innovation and contributing to development of industrial sectors to exploit today ́s emerging markets. The project provided a  policy framework to support the development of emerging industries by enhancing the innovation capacity and competitiveness of the clusters in the Central Europe area. The aim was to develop policies that enable existing clusters in established or emerging branches and technologies to exploit new markets. To achieve this, Key Enabling Technologies (KET) and Emerging Industries (EI) had  to be cross-linked with the established and traditional technologies / industries.

Services provided:

  • mapping of existing clusters and clustering programmes
  • analysis of sectors and research activities and specification of action areas of Smart Specialization Strategy and emerging industries
  • inputs on Slovenian position and future possibilities in national/regional cluster policy development
  • policy advice on cluster role in emerging industries
  • policy advice on strategy, policy tools and mechanisms to support emerging industries
  • review of evaluation reports on pilot actions for Advanced Materials, Smart Ambient/Housing and Zero Energy Building
  • developing action plans for pilot actions in Advanced Materials, Smart Ambient/Housing and Zero Energy Building.

This project was implemented through the Central Europe Programme co-financed by the ERDF, considered as part of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region.

Client: Tehnološka agencija Slovenije

Date: 2007 – 2013

Developing national cluster policy and sustainability in Turkey

Setting up a comprehensive clusters’ policy to contribute to achieving a sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Turkey.

This  project was designed to set up a comprehensive Clusters’ policy to contribute to achieving a sustainable economic, social and environmental development in Turkey.

Development of the Clustering Policy Project was launched to form a base for the national clusters’ policy by supporting the competitive sectors in the  country and to contribute to the development of a competitive structure in order to ensure a sustainable increase in export rates.

Services provided:

  • competitiveness assessment of selected clusters, mapping of clusters, value chains, and relationships between stakeholders
  • sector and sub-sector studies (growth potential, opportunities for FDI)
  • analysis of the business environment, existing programs, initiatives
  • policy design, strategy development and elaboration of initiatives aiming at improving competitiveness institutional strengthening (training courses and on-the-job training)
  • organization and implementation of study visits  and promotion missions
  • analysis of existing support mechanisms, policy tools and instruments and the design of new tools
  • analysis of institutions and recommend structural changes
  • designing and conducting stakeholder analysis, training needs assessment, developing the curriculum and delivering training
  • evaluation of pilot clusters
  • direct assistance to SMEs and institutions on developing cluster road maps

The project was financed by the EU funds with a budget of 6 Million Euros within the scope of the EU Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance.

Client: European Commission

Date: 2007 – 2009

CEE Cluster network, Central and Eastern European cluster and network area

A project for increasing cooperation between clusters and networks in Central and Eastern Europe.

This project aimed to increase the cooperation between clusters and networks in Central and Eastern Europe. The CEE Cluster Network focuses on linking the eleven partner regions/countries, whose innovation policies focus on cluster and network policy using an INNO-Net. The main objective was to find coherence in the different regional cluster policy implementation methodologies and to shape a common policy by defining common strategic issues, strategies and programmes.

Joint Quality Guidelines were prepared, cross border networks of key innovation and CEE actors were created, common issues and needs of SMEs and governments (within all participating regions) were investigated and presented in a “Cluster Memorandum”  expressing the intention of  coherent innovation policy development. Linkages with existing and planned European innovation programs and initiatives of CEE initiatives were identified and innovation cluster operational programs were designed  for joint trans-regional projects. Regional and national level innovation, cluster initiatives and support programs were analyzed. 

In Slovenia, a capacity building on policy development on the regional level was provided.

Services provided:

  • Analyzing existing innovation and cluster initiatives and programs.
  • Mapping of relationships and linkages among regional stakeholders.
  • Needs identification and identification and assessment of potential for international cooperation.
  • Identification of fields / industrial sectors / clusters with strong potential for collaboration and elaboration of pilot actions.
  • Support in drafting of agreement of CEE Cluster Network partners.

Partners: Upper Austrian Technology and Marketing TMG – Clusterland Upper Austria.

Client: European Commission

Date: 2006 – 2008

Project’s website