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“A business cluster is like a sports club for companies”


The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
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WHAT IS A BUSINESS CLUSTER?

On the surface it looks so easy. Just scrape together a bunch of companies, organise a network meeting with coffee and fresh doughnuts, then swap business cards until your fingers go numb, and voila, you have a business cluster. Can't be any harder than that, can it?

BUSINESS CLUSTER, OR CLUSTER INITIATIVE

Well, maybe it’s a tad more difficult than that. First off, there is a difference between a cluster and a cluster initiative. Clusters can grow anywhere where there is a lot of expertise in a particular field. The Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth defines it as “a geographical concentration of companies in a particular industry”, and says that such clusters increases the growth and development of industry expertise and technology faster than in other places. “A cluster initiative”, on the other hand, is an organization whose aim is to coordinate the companies in a cluster and run an organized development in order to strengthen the cluster’s growth and competitiveness. A bit like a sports club for companies.

LEADS TO INCREASED GROWTH

Generally the cluster initiatives work leads to a growing cooperation between cluster companies, leading to even better regional. Paper Province is a cluster initiative with focus on on developing a regional forest bio-economy.

CRYING NEED FOR SKILLED PERSONNEL

Paper Province was founded in 1999 by seven companies that had the same desperate need for recruiting qualified staff. Since then, about 80 companies have joined the initiative, and we coordinate collaboration between industry, academia and public players to develop our regional cluster.

External measurements show that Paper Province work leads to new products and services, increased sales and more jobs.

A NATURAL BUSINESS CLUSTER

In the counties of Värmland, Dalsland and Närke, a large part of the population have since long been working with forest refining in one way or another. By the year 1900 46 paper mills were up and running, and that’s only in the County of Värmland. And before anyone really had thought about it a natural forest business cluster had developed in the region, probably thanks to an abundance of forest resources and vast regional expertise in timber processing

CLUSTER FACTS


  • 2007 – 2011 The Paper Province companies had ten times higher growth than the rest of the companies in the County of Värmland.
  • 2007 – 2011 The number of employees in Paper Province increased by 2% while the number of employees in the County of Värmland decreased by 5%.