Cluster Growth Councils

Six Engineering Cluster Growth Councils

Six Engineering Cluster Growth Councils, based in consortium cities and surrounding regions (Malaga, Alcalá de Henares, Bologna, Cork, Istanbul, and Paris), each have a collaboration network and culture for joint innovation in their partner regions.

ALCALÁ de HENARES

Eva Senra Diaz

The Madrid Cluster Council brings together small and medium-sized companies focused on smart and efficient energies. The Cluster Council aims to generate activities to improve the definition and management of growth strategies at local and international levels. To this end, the Council works to foster collaboration between companies and universities, create joint business opportunities for growth and internationalisation, encourage the participation of members in collaborative innovation proposals, define objectives and training plans in common interests, and collaborate with other clusters in training aspects as well as sharing coworking spaces and creating mobility opportunities.​

“By fostering collaboration between SMEs through hot desks and coworking spaces, with the support and assistance of the University, we create a dynamic hub for international exchange, igniting innovation and driving growth”.

Eva Senra Díaz, PhD

University of Alcalá Vice director for Students, Entrepreneurship and Employability

BOLOGNA

Rosa Grimaldi

The Emilia Romagna Cluster Growth Council was created to support the development of Engineering SMEs in the region. In recent years, Emilia-Romagna has shown its dynamism with regard to innovation within companies, the birth of innovative start-ups and SMEs, and academic spin-offs. The good performances shown by Emilia-Romagna are the result of a solid academic, research, entrepreneurial, cultural, and social structure; the result of a ten-year regional policy oriented towards growth, research and innovation, but above all of consolidated skills and resources in the field of research and innovation, typical of local actors. The main goal of the Emilia Romagna Cluster Growth Council is to support the interaction between the different players and boost regional growth. 

“The SME Cluster Growth Council has provided opportunities to share knowledge and best practices to enhance innovative potential of SMEs. The possibility to compare with others and hear from experts has provided great value and learning outcomes for companies wanting to navigate the digital and sustainable transitions.”​ ​ ​ ​ ​

Rosa Grimaldi

Professor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, University of Bologna​

Deputy Mayor for Economic Promotion & International Attractiveness, Cultural & Creative Industries

CORK

The Cluster Council explored by MTU includes a large range of organisations and support measures available for SMEs in Ireland. It was felt that there is a large number of support organisations in existence within the Southern region and further entities would be confusing.

It was felt that the SMEs involved would be best supported through membership and involvement with existing support structures (including the Regional Skills Forum, South West Lean Forum,Enterprise Ireland, Cork Chamber and STEM South West) facilitated by MTU. This Cluster is a strong network of relevant agencies and companies that can support these SMEs going forward towards better visibility, collaboration and business growth. In particular, the SMEs involved can communicate their requirements for talent and remain informed about all national and regional activities in this crucial area. ​

Mr Matt Cotterell

Head of the School of Mechanical, Electrical, and Process Engineering

ISTANBUL

Cem Duran

The Turkish SME Cluster Growth Council was developed with the idea of bringing together stakeholders having an impact on the growth endeavours of SMEs in the information and communication technology ecosystem. The Council includes representatives from technoparks, the ICT industry, consultants, entrepreneurs and HEIs and acts as a board, especially for the validation of the Istanbul Technical University activities for the SME CG Project.

“Being a member of the Council enabled me to perceive the difficulties of SMEs more closely and to discuss alternative solutions to guide them on their growth path. Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel at a micro level and facilitating access to financial support are the most crucial problems to address in order for SMEs to grow healthy. I believe that training and sharing activities in a European project will assist these firms to establish a clear mindset and mobilise their potential towards growth.”​

Cem Duran, PhD.

General Manager at Boğazici Teknopark

MALAGA

Daniel Gonzalez Bootello

The Andalusian SME Cluster Growth Council was created around the Smart Cities topic. The Council is based on an already existing Cluster, the Smart City Cluster, that acts as the leader member. It’s enriched by other regional entities such as the Chamber of Commerce of Seville, and the Technological Corporation of Andalusia (CTA), among others. The Council supports the development and growth of SMEs focused on Smart Cities, contributing to creating more sustainable and intelligent cities in the region.

“The SME Cluster Growth Council provides opportunities and knowledge about Smart Cities to SMEs that are in the first steps of their development, helping to define new and better products and services to support creating greener cities based on innovation. The creation of a Cluster linked to a European project is the ideal format to enable the participation of companies in the validation of the project results.”

Daniel González Bootello

General Manager at Smart City Cluster

PARIS

Todd Davey

The French Cluster Council, created within the SME Cluster Growth project, has been advising and guiding start-ups and SMEs in the Essonne region on how to drive growth. One key success of the council has been the provision of visibility for start-ups and SME managers, enabling them to participate actively in initiatives and programs designed to foster growth. The council connects SMEs with industry experts and research that offers valuable insights and interventions tailored to the specific needs of SMEs. This collaborative approach ensures that the general program is adapted to the realities of French SMEs, challenging roadmaps, and fostering sustainable business models.​

“By participating in a council, SMEs gain the opportunity to interact with key regional stakeholders and develop a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the business development of the region. This engagement opens doors for collaboration, networking, and partnerships, allowing SMEs to tap into valuable resources, expertise, and support.”​

Todd Davey​

Professor in Entrepreneurship ​ Institut Mines-Télécom Business School (IMT-BS)​

How do the Cluster Growth Councils Work?

Council's Mission

Cluster Growth
Through

Community
Based Events

Facilitating Mechanisms
For

Cross-Border
Network Building

Cross-Sectoral
Network Building

Following a successful SME survey spanning 500 engineering businesses across Europe, SME Cluster Growth partners established six Cluster Growth Councils.  Each serves as a platform to develop closer relationships between Engineering SMEs and universities in order to build joint action plans and strategies and align activities with local and regional issues and innovation agendas to solve their common challenges collaboratively. 

So who is involved and who benefits?

Key success factors

  1. Increase interactions between Engineering SMEs and universities 
  2. Multiply interactions between different clusters 
  3. Determine the precise success factors to be adapted with the challenges specific to each cluster 
  4. Create a direct impact in each country 

Let’s review how this works…

  • Each Council agree the themes their council works to address.  This reflects the  insights derived from the development of six  Regional Growth Needs Analysis Reports & the interviews and case studies conducted.  
  • Each Council develops their vision of cross-European collaboration and how they both add and benefit from strong added value on an international basis.  

Let’s put the first spotlight on our French Cluster Growth Council. Led by IMTBS, they are focusing the work of their Cluster Growth Council around two challenges

  • Firstly the need for engineering SMEs to strengthen their relationship with the University and learn innovative ways to work together and  
  • Secondly to develop European relationships with the five other Cluster Growth Councils.  Their Council comprises stakeholders including SME owners across different engineering segments, the French public bank of investment, the largest professional organisation of French industry and an OPCO (French organisation involved in finance, lifelong learning and applied studies for young people). 

Each Council Includes

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Members

Each Council includes

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Members

Each Council works for

SME Cluster Growth Magazine

Issue #4

Welcome to the fourth edition of EMPOWER, the SME Cluster Growth project magazine. Throughout this issue, we will show you the latest activities and programmes developed within the framework of the SME Cluster Growth project, as well as some examples of business growth in which we analyse the keys to their success.