Developing and sustaining the new wave of business clusters


December 2009

pan-Bulgaria Project

Growthclusters UK Ltd has worked with Creative Industry Clusters and Zones for over 10 years. We have also worked with Workspace development in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Preston and Lancaster. Now we are leading a Social Enterprise project pan-Bulgaria (on behalf of a South-East Europe Funded Project called ISEDE-Net) which plans to collectivize the needs of Social Enterprises across the Balkans and develop web-based assistance and Business Education materials. We are excited about this because it is an interest and expertise we can export from our work in the UK and also add value to an under-developed segment of the Bulgarian economy. Bulgaria has lots of Co-operatives. Social or Community-based Enterprises are a very new venture – we have tracked 40 so far.

For more information contact us by email or call 00359884195699.

November 2009

The Impact of Clusters

It is a secret zone that few have entered – proving the value of Cluster development. We see very few Impact studies or time assessment of Cluster development. We know the Credit Crisis has led to a down-turn in the Global Economy – but should not Clusters now be meeting this challenge. A recent report on Italian industrial districts in the Economist (November) highlights the down-sizing of some of Northern Italy’s key Clusters.

So: Growthclusters BG have started working on 2 types of impact assessment.

  • Looking at the various relationships within a Cluster (Companies, NGOs, Municipalities, Technical Institutes, etc.) and tracking/mapping the intensity of the Business Relationship.
  • Using the EfQM model of Benchmarking performance and creating new questions, new values, and new methods to set up Annual Assessments.

If you are interested in any of these ideas or frustrated that everyone talks about selection of Clusters or choosing Priority Clusters but rarely about effectiveness, JOIN US.

October 2009

Growthclusters BG - Staff Additions

The Company is working on a sequence of Projects at the moment – both internationally and in Bulgaria. There are a number of E.U. Cross Border applications in the pipe-line: so now is the time to extend the Growthclusters BG organizations.

Elena Barakova - With a Masters Degree in Hungarian Studies from the town of Goce Delchev (near the Greek border), has spent the last 5 years in Budapest. She is joining the team as Administrator, also in charge of Media, Data-Bases and the Association of Business Clusters in Bulgaria.

She can be contacted here and is your first point to contact now with the Company.

September 2009

It's as Simple as A.B.C.

Growthclusters BG office in Sofia – is the registered office of the newly-formed Association of the Business Clusters in Bulgaria (A.B.C.).

A meeting in Varna during August 2009 not only laid the ground for the Registration of this new NGO, but also elected a Board and Ms Genoveva Christova (Chair of the Furniture Export Cluster) as its first official leader.

Membership targets for the first year are 15 Full Members and 20 Associate Members. The Board currently consist of 7 Bulgarian Clusters covering Furniture, I.T., Maritime, Energy, Logistics and Mechatronics.

For more information please contact Elena Barakova or Genoveva Christova

May 2009

Our Consultancy has been in a close relationship with a trans-national team of experts who designed the ISEDE-NET Project, recently approved by the South-East Europe Operational Programme.

Social enterprises SE are businesses set up to tackle social or environmental needs: increasing their presence, in particular of those operating in innovative sectors such as renewable energies, ethic finance, ICT, means providing SEES with the opportunity for a prosperous, fair, inclusive and environmentally sustainable future.

The overall objective of "ISEDE-NET" is to support the development of SE across the SEES thus contributing to the strengthening of social and economic cohesion over the transnational area of the project. The specific objectives of the project are the following:

  • 1. Creation of a transnational network of public and private partner institutions committed to the development of the sector.
  • 2. Identification of the driving forces for the development of Social Entrepreneurship, proven and transferable solutions and common problems to be solved.
  • 3. Mobilizing a transnational network of SE and promoting their participation to a web 2.0 based network allowing them cooperation across borders, exchange of experience and communication.
  • 4. Finding new solutions for the SE sector by implementing pilot innovative actions (finance, Business support services and market development), then making the results and experiences available to the SE of the Programme area and relevant audience.
  • 5. Promoting the internal innovation of SE in terms of professionalization and creation of new socially oriented businesses.
  • 6. Providing a chance for social inclusion of disadvantaged groups including ethnic miniroties (such as Romas) across the SEE space.

April 2009

A member of our Projects Team will submit an application to Open Society Alumni Grant Programme for the establishment of a Creative Quarter in Sofia in the Old Jewish Quarter. This dilapidated and run-down area has a great concentration of creative people working in a variety of creative sectors – from Architecture and Painting to Hand-made Bead-knitting and Iconography. The Project aims at creating a unified image for the old Jewish Quarter as a hamlet of creative workers, which will contribute to attracting tourists, bringing profit and making living for the creative workers.

March 2009

Our consultancy was involved in a project supported by the Administrative Capacity Operatioal Programme, aiming to improve the transparency, accountability and corruption fight in the State Forestry Agency

Our expertise went to researching European best practices on establishing “one-stop shops” as examples of excellent customer standards and customer care and their application in the Bulgarian Forestry Agency.

We were also involved in conducting a survey aiming to measure customer satisfaction and to identify areas for improvement. The survey included distributing 1000 questionnaires among Forestry Agency clients. We then analysed the results and put forward our recommendations on improving customer service and on better measuring customer satisfaction.

The results achieved in the first stages of our work laid the basis for the creation of Working Programmes for the information centres in 4 Regional offices of the Forestry Agency. This development is a break-through in the Bulgarian Forestry Agency on its way to improving Customer Service in compliance with world standards.

February 2009

February 2009 – Growthclusters BG work on Clusters II Project in Bulgaria ends on February 13th. The results will be shown on this web-site soon: Cluster Mapping’ Cluster Guidelines and the Executive Summary. Until then the new Operational Programme Priority 2.3 on Clusters and networks will include co-ordination grants for early clusters; short-term project funding up to 50 000 EUR for “quick win” ideas that have an immediate impact on cluster performance; and Capital Investment Funding up to 2 million EURO (50% match) for regional infrastructure that develops cluster members’ competitiveness.

January 2009

Creativity is a driver for innovation and a key factor for the development of personal, occupational, entrepreneurial and social competences and well-being of all individuals in society. (Motto of The European Year of Creativity and Innovation).

The year 2009 is a celebration of creativity and innovation across Europe. The key message of this initiative is that creativity and innovation contribute to economic prosperity as well as to social and individual wellbeing.

A wide range of activities will contribute to making the Year of Creativity a Europe-wide celebration of those key factors which not only bring about economic wealth but also develop people’s personal growth as creative individuals, increasing their levels of satisfaction and stimulating their urge for expanding their creative potential. The activities of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009 are aimed at a range of different groups including young people, educators, firms and policy makers, as well as the general public. Civil society organisations are encouraged to mobilise and get involved at European, national and local levels. You can find out more about the activities per country by clicking on the following link:

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