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Industry NZ Launches Cluster Development Pilot

Industry New Zealand Launches Cluster Development Pilot

“Knowing when to co-operate and when to compete could make New Zealand businesses and regions more competitive,” according to Industry New Zealand Chief Executive Neil Mackay.

“That sounds like a contradiction, but co-operative competition is the basis of business clusters, which have been credited with contributing to thriving economies overseas,” Mr Mackay said.

Clusters are groups of companies and related organisations that work together in to grow their business, but they can also include universities, polytechnics, expert advisers, and customers linked in a value adding chain.

The development of business clusters is the focus of a new Industry New Zealand pilot programme.

“Overseas evidence indicates that business clusters contribute to economic development by improving regional competitiveness and business performance,” Industry New Zealand Chief Executive Neil Mackay said.

A well functioning cluster allows participants to utilise networks to achieve business objectives such as growth, cost reduction and related infrastructure development that they would not be able to achieve as effectively if acting in isolation.

“Importantly, cluster development allows regions to focus on their strengths rather than spreading efforts too widely,” Mr Mackay said.

He said most of the 50 clusters currently in New Zealand are doing a good job but are not necessarily achieving the full benefits that clusters can provide.

“Existing clusters are being facilitated in isolation from others, and we missing out on opportunities to fast-track development and share best practice,” Mr Mackay said. “With more resources and a better understanding of how to promote and facilitate clusters, the benefits of clusters could be more fully realised.”

“The Clusters pilot will test the effectiveness of Government involvement in emerging and regional cluster development prior to considering an expanded programme,” he said.

The pilot will involve a portfolio of 15 clusters with different characteristics. This will assist in identifying and defining the various needs and requirements for different types of clusters at different stages of development.
The pilot will consist of:
 National co-ordinators
Two national co-ordinators will run the pilot. This will involve building a database of clusters in New Zealand, developing and disseminating resources, and providing initial advice on the cluster development process.
 Cluster Builders’ Toolkit, Training for Cluster Facilitators and Clusters Conference
The cluster builders tool kit will consist of best practice methods, templates, case studies, and tips for facilitators. Training will be provided to cluster facilitators. This will consist of a series of workshops and development of a cluster facilitator’s network. A conference will be held at the end of the evaluation phase where the outcomes of the pilots will be announced.
 Funding Assistance
Funding is available to assist clusters to participate in the pilot. It is for the employment of a cluster facilitator for each cluster. The cluster facilitator will be responsible for the on-going development of the cluster and working with Industry New Zealand to secure results.

Applications for participation in the pilot are currently being sought. Interested parties should contact Industry New Zealand on 0800 22 44 80 or at info@industrynz.govt.nz.


Ends/…

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