Internationally recognised clusters include Silicon Valley (San Francisco), financial services (London), wine (California) watches (Switzerland) and film (Hollywood).
Clusters can be described as geographic concentrations of interconnected companies, specialised suppliers, service providers, firms in related industries and associated institutions that compete, but also cooperate.
Clusters play a key role in driving innovation, regional development and competitiveness. Clusters are the building blocks of modern economies, and they profile the economy of a location. They help drive regional economic performance, from job growth to higher wages and innovation
Between 30% and 40% of all employment is in industries that concentrate, or ‘cluster’, regionally (European Cluster Observatory, 2007). Clusters are significantly related to prosperity of these regions leading to higher wages and increased employment. 38% of all European employees work in enterprises that are part of the cluster sector.
As part of the recent Action Plan for Jobs that was launched in January 2016 the Government has identified a National Clustering Initiative as one of five specific Disruptive Reforms, which are designed as significant cross Government initiatives that will have a measurable impact. The five new Disruptive Reforms in 2016 reflect the key priorities of Government.
The following links and initiatives provide more detailed information of cluster projects in the US and Europe. Information on Ireland Cluster activity is currently being developed and is coming soon.
US Cluster Mapping Project –http://www.clustermapping.us
A national initiative that provides open data on regional clusters and economies to support U.S. business, innovation and policy. Here users will find interactive, robust data and tools to understand clusters and regional business environments, improve institutions, and locate appropriate partners across the country. It is led by Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness in partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Economic Development Administration.
European Cluster Collaboration Platform –http://www.clustercollaboration.eu
The ECCP provides networking support for clusters (organisations and members) aiming to improve their performance and increase their competitiveness through the stimulation of trans-national and international cooperation.
Ireland Clusters – www.irelandclusters.ie coming soon.