European Cluster Conference 2022 in Prague
The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic as part of the Czech EU Presidency and the European Commission organized the 8th European Cluster Conference, which took place on 26-27 September 2022, in Prague.
This event, supported by the European Cluster Cooperation Platform (ECCP) was a unique opportunity to bring together cluster policy makers, cluster managers, experts and other participants.
The event focused on cluster policies and initiatives that enable the concrete implementation of the green and digital transition in European value chains and strengthen their resilience. There was also discussion and advocacy on how clusters can contribute to the implementation of transition pathways in different industrial ecosystems.
Clusters will thus become key actors of change in line with the updated EU Industrial Strategy.
During the two-day event, which was attended by over 600 participants from 40 countries, participants had the opportunity to discuss the latest trends in cluster policy, participate in a matchmaking event, explore business, investment and partnership opportunities and develop links between European value chains and ecosystems. They also had the opportunity to visit the workplaces of selected Czech clusters and visit 30 stands on display at the venue during the conference.
NATIONAL CLUSTER ASSOCIATION AT THE CONFERENCE
The National Cluster Association (NCA) actively participated in the preparation of Site Visits, in which five NCA´s members presented themselves: the MECHATRONIKA Cluster, NANOPROGRESS and CLUTEX, CZECHIMPLANT and the Czech Optical Cluster. Video invitations can be viewed HERE.
President of the National Cluster Association Jiří Herinek also successfully introduced the association to all representatives during the Side Events on the first day of the conference, establishing new contacts and participated in partner meetings.
The NCA team represented not only themselves but also their members at the conference. They welcomed over a hundred participants at their booth, had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the European Commission, talk to politicians and make new contacts that open doors to projects and new partnerships.
As already mentioned, the NCA team had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the European Commission. The Commission was interested in what activities the NCA is undertaking and how it represents its members at national and international level.
Both cluster associations and their member companies directly expressed interest in the NCA stand. Some were already aware of the NCA, others were being introduced to the NCA for the first time. The KLASTROVINY magazine proved to be an excellent form of promotion and contact, where adequate contacts to the relevant cluster managers were immediately circled. Some of the promotional materials on the stand were also supplied by NCA members and this form of promotion also proved beneficial. A large number of visitors took either business cards directly to a specific manager or the promotional material of a specific cluster.
Other visitors to the booth included, for example, representatives of the Ministry from Poland, who were interested in how the Czech Republic supports cluster organisations. They wanted to compare the support in Poland and the Czech Republic. Another very interesting visitor was Ms. Borůvková, who is the head of the office of the Belgian Embassy - Flemish Representation. Ms. Borůvková was interested in the Czech market and its possibilities to connect with the Flemish market.
Visitors who stopped by the stand were mostly interested in whether cluster organizations in the Czech Republic are financially supported by the state, the possibility of new cooperation with cluster organizations and companies in the Czech Republic, what kind of members the NCA has and whether the NCA can help connect clusters / companies with NCA members. Some visitors were looking for specific clusters and wished to be brought into contact with them, others wanted to read about the clusters in the KLASTROVINY to learn more about potential partners and their projects.
After a busy day full of activities and good food, the NCA team, together with representatives from the Czech clusters, moved on to a pitcher of beer and discussed the newly established contacts and activities of the last few days.
AWARDS AT THE EUROPEAN CLUSTER CONFERENCE 2022
The European Commission, with the support of the ECCP, announced the winners of its annual cluster awards based on voting that took place online within the cluster community and then on-site by conference participants. The title "Cluster Manager of the Year" went to Kristina Sermuksnyte-Alesiuniene, Cluster Manager from AgriFood, Lithuania. The "European Cluster Partnership of the Year" award went to the S3Food project, which facilitates the implementation of innovative digital solutions in the food industry.
A unique opportunity that allowed delegates from different countries to make new contacts and find potential business partners at all stages of the supply chain.
Conference participants were offered tours of the workplaces of selected Czech clusters.
More about the tour can be found HERE
Visitors had the opportunity to see 30 stands representing their organisations and projects. Again, there was an opportunity for networking.
Find out more about the exhibitors HERE