Clusters: powerful engines of economic development in Europe

October 18, 2013


Clusters are powerful engines of economic development and drivers of innovation in the European Union. There are more than 1,500 cluster organisations across Europe.


Clusters provide a fertile business environment for companies, particularly SMEs, to collaborate with research institutions, suppliers, customers and competitors located in the same cluster.


Well-performing clusters provide more and better professional services to SMEs, which enable member enterprises to perform better.


The European Cluster Excellence Initiative has developed the appropriate tools to help cluster organisations to assess and improve their performance.


More than 500 cluster organisations have already acquired the bronze label of excellence, and over 20 the gold label.


In this edition of Business Planet, we focus on a company specialising in the offshore energy sector, along with its 280 companies.


Ocean Team in Scandinavia specialises in liquid purification and oil conversion systems and has been part of the cluster from day one. Over the last 10 years its number of employees has increased fivefold, and they have opened subsidiaries in Qatar, India and Mexico.


Jens Peter Thomsen, Managing Director, of Ocean Team Scandinavia told euronews: “We are in an internationalisation group. We are also in a group for international contracting, and sub-sea, and finally we are in a group for offshore wind energy.”


As well as being involved in various working groups, Peter also takes part in one-day business-to-business workshops.


He explained to euroews: “through the BtoB [events] we can meet 17 different people: partners and customers from all around the world [in one day]. This is very valuable for a small enterprise like us.”


To grow as a company, the SME needs to take full advantage of its cluster, a highly professional, well-structured and competitive organisation.


Søren Dybdahl from Offshoreenergy.dk told euronews: “over the last ten years, we have managed or initiated over 80 development projects. For example, the sub-sea network, a network group for sub-sea technology companies. A growing market in Denmark.”


In recognition of its organisation management quality, Offshoreenergy.dk was awarded a European Cluster Excellence Initiative gold label.


It has placed ‘ambassadors’ in countries with high growth potential who implement development projects.


Cluster enterprises have created 6,000 jobs over the past three years. Some of those companies have seen their turnover increase by almost 60 percent, thanks mainly to exports.