Clusters are groups of specialised enterprises – often SMEs – and other related supporting actors that cooperate closely together in a particular location. In working together SMEs can be more innovative, create more jobs and register more international trademarks and patents than they would alone. The EU Cluster Portal provides tools and information on key European initiatives, actions and events for clusters and their SMEs with the aim of creating more world-class clusters across the EU.
The EU Cluster Portal complements the Smart Specialisation Platform that assists regional and national policy-makers to develop, implement and review their Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3) such as through guidance documents and tools to identify regions with similar policy priorities.
Clusters operate together in regional markets. 38% of European jobs are based in such regional strongholds and SME participation in clusters leads to more innovation and growth.
There are about 2000 statistical clusters in Europe, of which 150 are considered to be world-class in terms of employment, size, focus and specialisation.
According to the European Cluster Excellence Scoreboard, for a number of selected emerging industries and regions in the period 2010-2013, 33.3 % of firms in clusters showed employment growth superior to 10%, as opposed to only 18.2% of firms outside clusters.
The Commission Communication For a European Industrial Renaissance (COM (2014) 14) highlighted clusters as being able to facilitate cross-sectoral and cross-border collaboration, helping SMEs to grow and internationalise. In 2015, a European Cluster Strategy for Growth will be presented with a view to supporting SME innovation and growth, notably in emerging industries.