We believe SMEs can benefit spectacularly from cluster policies. Estonia showcases this, regarding security innovation.
How cluster cooperation foster research? At SERN, we believe the answer to be a resounding yes. As advocators of start-ups, we believe such policies can bring several benefits. Below, we will explain how.
Before starting, it’s important to note what a cluster is. Clusters are groups of highly specialized enterprises, working collaboratively. Most of them are often SMEs. By working together, they showcase the power of cooperation. A company’s job creation, together with her patent registration, is helped by this.
The EU’s renewed industrial policy strategy recognizes clusters as key development agents. Indeed, they account for 54 million European jobs. Their growth has been promoted through different initiatives, such as the European cluster collaboration platform.
How cluster cooperation helps SMEs? Through several ways. First, they may help technical knowledge sharing. They allow different SMEs to share information, thus cutting research costs. This is brilliantly exemplified by Estonia’s SME DefSecIntel. The company is specialized in aerial surveillance systems. Through Estonia’s defense cluster, Threod Systems partnered with her. The two companies’ time to market was cut by half, after their product integration.
Second, clusters can enlarge an SME’s network. Once again, DefSecIntel exemplifies this. Clustering allowed her to contact with several EU defense companies. Their network, both economic and institutional, was enlarged. In such a way, they got knowledge on industrial supply chains. Their business was crucially improved by this intelligence. Being small, SME’s usually experience difficulties in such area.
Third, clusters can help SMEs access European events and funds. The Defense Estonia Cluster has been funded by the EU Regional Development Fund. This has been channeled to SME’s in different ways. For example, it has helped them export to international markets. Also, it has promoted and financed training events.
We conclude that clusters can strongly help start-ups. They boost their profile, and help innovation thrive. They help us achieve European goals, such as Horizon2020 or the Green Deal. Thus, they’re a key component of entrepreneurship. And, needless to say, this stands at SERN’s core.