28 Sep 11

29.09.2011.LEDIB Programme development activities that started in 2007, resulted by forming LEDIB Cluster House, the first business organization for cluster development in Serbia, in December 2010.


LEDIB Programme supported establishment of 5 clusters in three sectors: construction, textile and agriculture. Clusters consist of enterprises grouped in sectors and entrepreneurs whose strategic objective is cooperation with public and educational sector.


Due to a large number of beginners in business in Nis Region, five Start Up Clusters were formed in the field of construction, textile, agriculture, services and medicine, consisting of enterprises some of which have been in business for more than 5 years, so they have the role of mentors to other start up cluster members. Start-up clusters are functioning within Nis Region Union of Start Up Clusters, which consists of more than 250 members.


Opeka-Brick Construction Cluster is an example of vertical networking of members, and its main objective is its members joint presentation and participation in capital infrastructural projects. It consists of more than 20 members.


Nisava District Textile Cluster is an example of horizontal networking of members, and its main objective is to create the textile brand of Nis in order to export it. It consists of 35 members.


Strategic direction of LEDIB Programme in the field of cluster development is support to creation of a new professional profile – cluster facilitator.


Cluster facilitators, cluster managers and cluster organizations play a vital role in transformation and revitalization of clusters in the country. They should act as agents of changes, stress out the need for change and promote innovative cooperation among partners in cluster. They should accumulate knowledge on cluster and global changes influencing it. They should also be able to work and apply data and facts as inputs for their strategic operations, and also be able to build bridges toward other clusters – at regional, national or international level – promoting at the same time the new cooperation and innovative partnership among the cluster companies.


Three types of actors play the most important role in the ecosystem of clusters: companies, public and educational sectors. Companies that are ready to embrace changes. Strong public sector that understands the importance of clusters and educational sector with devoted employees who are ready to cooperate with other players.


Why are clusters important?
Clusters lead to a better innovation, increased employment rate, higher economic growth, and entrepreneurship benefits from them.


There is no reliable way to establish the correct number of clusters because of the way they are formed or the way they stop working.


Clusters keep on developing all the time, starting from general activities related to gathering of SME sector in order to provide common benefit, through networking and trainings, knowledge sharing, study visits, seminars, workshops, visits to companies, cluster strategy, branding, cooperation on the projects, to analyses of markets and trends, industrial analysis, strategic segmentation and strategy (value chain and sub-clusters), innovative cooperation, IR projects, new business development, project and portfolio management, entrepreneurship, documentation and evaluation, strategic feedback.


The importance of institutional networking and public-private partnership was observed on the example of Danish clusters in fields of design, fashion and industrial textile, robotics, furniture, aluminium, steel, food.


Because of the need for cluster development in Denmark, REG X – the National Platform for Competence, Knowledge Sharing and Networking of Danish cluster facilitators was formed at University of South Denmark. The objective of REG X is to ensure that Danish facilitators of clusters are among the best in the world, to promote activities of Danish Companies with open innovations in cluster, to develop world innovative training program in the regional business development (www.regx.dk).


On the Serbian side, the Nis Region Union of Start Up Clusters was formed - LEDIB Cluster House with the vision of becoming centre for cluster development in Serbia.


Introduction to Clusters in Denmark Program in the period from September 20 – 22, 2011, was organized by LEDIB Programme and implemented by REG X experts, and it included 7 consultants of NOVA Business Association and 2 LEDIB Programme Coordinators. After Module I of training for cluster facilitators in Nis, this program represents Module II the aim of which is introduction to examples of clusters in Denmark, cluster development concepts that are recognized in Europe and European network of cluster facilitators.


REG X Expert Team led by Ms Lotte Langkilde, Director, created a special curriculum based on the needs of the group from Serbia.


The first day of training took place in a classroom and dealt with the following issues:


On the road to cluster establishment it is important to notice players/actors of cluster ecosystem, meaning companies, institutions, business organizations and public administration that can influence forming and functioning of clusters. A well-done mapping of cluster players, and then recruitment, contributes to a more successful coordination and management.


It is important to work on promotion of communication skills as the results of communication with target groups will influence cluster operations and development.


Role of cluster facilitator is essential as it directly contributes to development of internal and external communication of clusters and benefits companies – cluster members.


Apart from formal activities like trainings, workshops for strategy makers, etc., a special attention needs to be paid to social events and informal socializing of cluster members.


The second day of training included meetings with actors of Danish clusters ecosystem.


Training participants spent a day in Spinderhallerne at Vejle Town- a creative and innovative centre (greenhouse) for art, culture and business. They were introduced to cluster initiative Design2Innovation, a regional cluster in field of design to be formed within a project supported by EU, big companies like LEGO and Denfoss, School of Design in Kolding, University of South Denmark, Design House, etc. Project is about 7 million euro worth and will be implemented till the end of 2015.


The main architect of regional cluster program of Southern Denmark Region stressed out the necessity of cooperation between public and private sectors as well as monitoring of national strategy at regional level. All the development activities should be adjusted with the national strategic directives of growth and development as it is the only way to achieve sustainability of projects.


During the meeting with Cluster Facilitator of Innonet lifestyle - Interior & Clothing Cluster (furniture and clothing), a top-bottom approach to cluster forming was noted. Due to the need of Ministry of Science and Technology, the initiative to form the innovative network was supported, i.e. producers of furniture and clothing sectors clusters. After several years of monitoring and support to sectors, an appropriate progress in those industrial sectors was achieved.


During the third day, there were visits to a renowned School of Design in Kolding and House of Design. In the School of Design, students can master all the necessary techniques and skills for making of various artistic items for everyday use, perform practice classes in companies and according to their needs work on projects, design of scooters, windmills, devices for persons with disabilities, robots, fashion items, textile, graphic design, etc. After completion of studies, they can start their own creative work supported by House of Innovations (institution supporting start-ups) and House of Design where they can use corresponding logistic and expert support for implementation of their ideas.


Serbian delegation of cluster facilitators met with Mayor of Kolding, Mr Jorn Pedersen. During an official lunch, Mayor spoke of importance of cooperation between the Municipality and business community. Content business community contributes more to Municipal budget, and by correctly performing its duties, Municipality stimulates businesses on its territory through decrease of taxes and introduction of various incentives. Also, by active support to development project initiated by various partners – business organizations, institutions, etc. Mayor stressed out that triple helix cooperation is the key of success of their Municipality. He was invited to participate in Days of Clusters in Nis – the first conference of clusters to be held by end-October 2011.


The second half of Day 3 was dedicated to discussion on the latest trends in academic circles related to economic growth – Open Innovations and public-private innovations. Presentation was done by Ms Anne Clarke, Assistant to Department Director and Assistant at University of Southern Denmark.


The program ended with defining five most important matters in the cluster development by creating Action Plan with 5 key activities that need to be done after returning from Denmark.


5 most important issues in the cluster development are:

  • triple helix – ecosystem players mapping
  • necessity of monitoring of national and regional strategies of economic development as a prerogative for LED
  • existence of research and development activities based on market needs and connections between IR institutions with the business community
  • constant communication between cluster facilitators and all the partners
  • application of BIC concept for support to Start Ups and necessity of cooperation between public and private sectors in the implementation of this concept


5 key activities to undertake after the completion of cluster facilitators program in Denmark

  • Be even more motivated to implement Days of Clusters Conference in Nis. Pay a special attention to the selection of target groups
  • Initiate cooperation between University of Nis and REG X in the field of cluster development
  • Design a program of motivation of key partners at national and regional level (local authorities and educational institutions) in order to provide stronger support to cluster development in Serbia
  • Organize a meeting of cluster facilitators and cluster management in order to share information
  • Prepare newspaper articles and press releases related to implemented training in Denmark

National Dishes Preparation Contest

October is the traditional month of food, as, among other events, World Food Day is observed on October 16 and International Chefs Day on October 20.

Fair in Plovdiv, NTV
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