10 - Regional frameworks

10.3 - Forming part of an international network of business clusters


Establishing relationships between competitive groups of companies and universities in different regions is vital for generating wealth by transforming them into goods and services which can be marketed at an international level. The objective of this initiative therefore is to promote competitiveness through cooperation, and to highlight the strengths of different systems – by reducing weaknesses – whilst increasing the capacity for innovation and growth in local industries.

In this respect, Andalusia has a unique geographical location, as it borders Portugal to the west and North Africa to the south. Furthermore, Morocco is perhaps one of the countries on the African continent which has seen the greatest transformation in recent decades, with a growing market of over 30 million people. The country’s political and economic stability, commitment to the modernisation of the economy and its receptiveness to the international market, makes it an attractive magnet for businesses. Morocco’s business opportunities are enhanced not only because of its geographical proximity to Europe but also from the successive tariff reductions which have been applied since March 2000 in accordance with the Association Agreement with the EU. The region is also the main destination for Spanish exports to Africa, which are notably higher than those to other countries in the region and in fact the volume of Spain’s exports to Morocco is greater than that for Algeria and Egypt combined. Spain is also the second largest supplier of goods and services to Morocco after France.

Furthermore, the 2007-2013 Spain-Portugal Cross Border Cooperation Programme promotes the development of the border areas between the two countries by strengthening economic relationships and existing cooperation networks for the promotion of employment and competitiveness, as well as cooperation and joint management of the environment, heritage sites and nature areas, amongst other interactive aspects.


Clúster Linked Over Europe (CLOE) 

CLOE is an international network of business clusters based in the European regions of Karlsruhe (Germany), Linz (Austria), Lyon (France), Tartu (Estonia), Värmland (Sweden), Timisoara (Romania), Kaliningrad (Russia) and Nottingham (United Kingdom). It is a cooperation project between eight European regions, the aim of which is to share knowledge, ideas and experiences related to the management of clusters. CLOE’s main objective is to help the integrated regions interact with each other and develop cluster management methods and processes which promote business opportunities for the various companies involved.

CLOE seeks to promote innovation, collaboration and internationalisation among its members with a view to improving and enhancing productivity, increasing knowledge transfer and keeping a watching eye over the technology being developed. To this aim, CLOE organises events and seminars which promote the exchange of ideas and best practices in the management of clusters between the bodies belonging to the network. Branding and marketing services are also provided.

The project originated in Karlsruhe, which has extensive experience in the development of clusters as part of its regional development policy. The rest of the members joined either because they had prior experience in managing clusters, or because they wished to gain knowledge from those with proven know-how. The CLOE initiative remains open to potential new partners who wish to join. 

Øresund Science Region (Sweden and Denmark)

The Øresund Science Region initiative was established in February 2002 as part of a combined effort by governments, companies and local universities in the Swedish-Danish border area to boost economic development in the region via knowledge transfer. In order to achieve this, the bottom-up triple helix or double triple helix model is used which is based on the efficient management of knowledge.

The establishing of the Øresund Science Region has led to the formation of alliances between eleven universities, six science parks, more than 2,000 companies and around 12,000 researchers. Together, they are bridging the gap between research academics and universities, whilst overcoming potential legal and administrative barriers in each of the countries (intellectual property, financing mechanisms, capital requirements, business traditions and academic structures).

The following platforms are all part of the OSR: Øresund IT, the Øresund Environment Academy, the Øresund Food Network, Øresund Logistics. Each of them aspires to the creation and development of an environment which provides the necessary conditions for the generation, exchange and commercialisation of knowledge. The Øresund Food Network, for example, has launched a joint project called Unlimited Health to encourage the development of the health industry in the Øresund Region. Swedish and Danish universities, large teaching hospitals, pharmaceutical and food companies and authorities are all part of this network. 

International regional clusters in Karlsruhe (Germany)

In addition to the previously-mentioned example (CLOE), there are other projects being developed in this region of Germany which also illustrate the extremely positive impact of these types of partnerships, whether they take the form of clusters or networking.

  • Club PAMINA / IT2Rhine. Thanks to funding which was granted under the framework of one of the EU’s interregional programmes, three countries, Germany, France and Switzerland, were able to set up this collaboration initiative with a view to attracting investment and generating wealth in the Karlsruhe region. The organisation involves local authorities, development and knowledge transfer agencies, and ICT companies and its main objectives are to: optimise the conditions of the ICT business environment; collect statistical information on the status of ICT training in terms of companies’ business needs; design policy recommendations on ICT-related activities; promote business contacts; and promote the image of the region as a leader in sustainable development in ICT companies.
  • The Indo-German Network: Was established to share information and good practices in the ICT field. These activities are partly publicly financed, although most of the funding comes from private organisations or bodies.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

The implementation of this recommendation requires significant participation by Universities, Businesses and Administrations.

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  1. http://www.clusterforum.org/ - ClusterForum.
  2. http://www.indo-german-network-karlsruhe.com/ - Karlsruhe’s Indo-German Network.
  3. http://www.it2rhine.com/- Network It2Rhine.
  4. http://www.oresund.org - Øresund Science Region.
  5. www.pamina-business.com - Club Pamina der Wirtschaftförderer.