Developing and sustaining the new wave of business clusters

CREDENTIALS - Cluster Development Work

GrowthClustersBG is the Project Manager and Administration Office of the Association of Business Clusters(ABC) in Bulgaria.

It is offering a Clusters Grant Scheme(CGS) support and Applications Service,as well as mentoring and support system.

Currently: Working with 5 new Clusters on their development and application under the OP Competitiveness(CGS)

October 2013

Trainings for representatives of the Governing and Administrative body of the Marine Cluster Bulgaria in order to enhance the professional knowledge, skills and capacity for effective management and coordination of the Cluster Activities.

June 2013 – September 2013

Consultancy to Ruse Apparel Cluster (SCIAT). Composing 4 strategies:

  • Report on Best Practices
  • International Market Analysis
  • Export Strategy
  • General Cluster Strategy

October 2012 – present

ClusterPoliSee Project:

Internationalisation: External Expert for Bulgarian SME Agency, developing:

  • Concept Papers
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Strategy guidelines on Clusters

Regional Specialisation: External Expert for Corallia, Athens, developing:

  • Case Studies
  • Guidelines for Pilots
  • Technical Assistance

October 2012 – present

Expert Evaluation Contract – Wine Export Project for BG wines to India and China. 3 year longitudinal evaluation of tactics, methods and impact. National Vine and Wine Chamber, Bulgaria

November 2012 - present

Work with new Clusters in Krusevac (Serbia), Maritsa (Bulgaria) and Eastern Black Sea (Turkey)

February 2012

Training on "Clustering: Challenges and Opportunities in the initial stage of development and in times of crisis." for Accessible Tourism Cluster, Sofia, Bulgaria.

December 2011

Developing 2 projects for furniture companies, as part of OP Competitiveness, related to the technical modernization of production.

February 2011 - December 2011

Technical Assistance for Empowering SMEs for Networking and Inter-Regional Cooperation in Turkey

GrowthClusters(BG) as Team Leader of EU Project creating up to 10 Clusters in Anatolia Region of Turkey. Includes appointing 5 Cluster Info-Spot Co-ordinators;development of a Knowledge Management System; introduction of a National Cluster Benchmarking System; and Capacity-Building of Ministries,RDAs and Local Chambers.

November 2010 – February 2011

Forestry Sector Institutional Reform Support Project. Reviewing the proposed institutional models for the forest sector; analyzing the economic viability of the new structures and drafting business models for their first six months operation as well as drafting outlines of the future standard operating procedures.

September 2010 – January 2012

CBC – EU funded Cross-Border Cluster Development Project Bulgaria-Romania, with lead partners Dobrich Chamber of Commerce in association with the Constanta Chamber of Commerce. Creating competitive cross-border clusters in the sectors of Agro-Business, Tourism and Furniture. In-depth analysis of the economic sector of Dobrudzha in Romania and Bulgaria. Cluster Mapping; Marketing studies of the region; Meetings with local business; Clustering across the border.

June 2010 - February 2012

SECEP – EU funded project “Support to Enterprise Competitiveness and Export Promotion” – Republic of Serbia. Analysis of the potential for a regional business cluster in the Nis region of Serbia.

April 2010 - May 2010

Preparing a Guide to Implementing Clusters Initiatives the ABIGEM Way. GEM+ Analysis for 12 Clusters. Final report and analysis of Cluster Development in Turkey.

March 2010

Strategic Management Training for 85 Senior Managers, State Forestry Agency. Leadership Training and Introduction of the new Strategic Plan. OP Administrative Capacity

November 2009 - December 2011

ISEDE-NET (Innovative Social Enterprise Development Network) Social Enterprise Project - OP South East Europe: National report on Social Enterprise; Financial tools, Business Training; Partnership with 7 countries.

August 2009 - December 2009

Updating the National Strategic Forest Documents of the State Forestry Agency of Bulgaria - the National Strategy for Sustainable Development of the Forest Sector in Bulgaria 2006-2015 and Strategic Plan for Development of the Forest Sector 2007-2011. OP Administrative capacity, Activity 4

March 2009 - May 2009

Analysis of the Customer Service of the State Forestry Agency in Bulgaria; Customer Satisfaction Survey, Establishment of one-stop shops for administration; Writing working programmes for 4 Information Centres (Veliko Tarnovo, Stara 3aropa, Sofia and Varna). OP Administrative Capacity, Activity 2

January 2009

Capacity Building for Bulgarian SME Agency and Ministry of Economy

February 2008 - February 2009

EU PHARE Bulgaria(with Ministry of Economy)

Growthclusters as the Team Leader for the Clusters II Project – supporting 12 Cluster Grants recipients to develop during 2008/9

March 2007 - ongoing

Lancashire Zonal Work (UK). West End of Hyndburn Development Project connected to the Oswaldwistle Zone development linking the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to Oswaldwistle Mills Shopping Village and the Town Centre.

August 2007 - November 2007

Cluster development in North East Region of Bulgaria based on facilitating furniture Companies and Agricultural co-operatives. PHARE Competitiveness Project.

September 2007 - March 2010

Cross-border Cluster Development between Western Bulgaria and Krajuvacs in Serbia – to create 2 food distribution and tourism clusters.

November 2007 - Febraury 2009

A Framework Programme 7 (FP7) application to assess the impact of clustering on 6 Furniture Clusters across Europe. The CREME research and Evaluation project will assess the ongoing relationship between members of Furniture Clusters in UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Serbia, Bulgaria and Austria.

December 2006 - August 2007


Cluster support for the development of 3 clusters along ancient routes from Plovdiv to historical surrounding towns and the Valley of the Roses. For the Cluster Co-ordinating Council

October 2006 - February 2007

South Lakes Cultural Hub

Feasibility Study

August 2006 - Mar 2007

Birmingham - Churchgate Quarter

Facilitation and organisation of a Business Group based in the Churchgate Quarter, and its ambitions to become a creative/cultural 'hot' spot

June 2005 - November 2006

EU Phare Cluster Project

Bulgaria - 18 month contract to lead the research, strategy development and pilot clusters.

September - November 2005


Clusters Handbook for the Turkish Textile & Clothing Sector Background research on EU best practice, and the origination of a Handbook

April - November 2005


Fashion & Textile Cluster - Turkey. Technical assistance to establish a fashion and textile cluster for EU/Turkish government, leading to a Cluster Analysis & Mapping Report entitled "Developing the Cluster Approach"

April 2003- March 2005

Lancaster, Fylde & Central Lancs

IT Cluster Groups - Lancaster, Fylde & Central Lancs (via sub-regional Partnership)

November 2004 - January 2005

City Fringe Partnership, London

City Fringe Partnership, London - Development of a creative hub ( LDA/City Fringe Partnership) for the largest cluster of creative businesses outside New York



Study tour of Dublin organised for NW (UK) ICT companies to explore the Dublin Digital Hub and other facilities

October 2001 - June 04


Two-year EU Cluster Visit Programme for Yorkshire Forward to Innovating Regions of Europe:

  • Copenhagen & Oresund, Denmark - Medicon Valley - Biomedical Cluster
  • Netherlands - Wageningen & Technopolis - Food Cluster
  • Jena, Germany - Optonet & Steinbeis Centre - Advanced Manufacturing Cluster
  • Sophia Antipolis, France - INRIA, CICA & Telecom Valley - Digital Industries Cluster
  • Lyon & Rhone-Alpes, France - Aderly, ITECH & Doua Science Park - Speciality Chemicals Cluster
  • Emilia Romagna, Italy - IMA, ERVET, Democenter & Maserati - Advanced Engineering Cluster
  • Barcelona, Spain - Competitiveness Institute, IESE & Hewlett Packard - Cluster-based enterprise policy

September 2002 - March 2003

East Lancashire

Cluster Development - Studies for Business Link East Lancashire and East Lancashire Partnership - 3 key sub-sectors (ICT, advanced manufacturing & homeware) conducted by John Murray

March 2002 - Jun 2002


Manchester Craft & Design Centre - Marketing Plan for Workspace within Manchester's Northern Quarter (1,000 interviews of different groups). Creative industry cluster.

May 2002


Clusters Visit to Jena Region of Germany for key Bulgarian Government staff.

April 2002

J Murray: Presenter at 2nd DTI/RDA Conference on Clusters - Tips on Implementation

Mar 2002 - January 2004

East Lancashire, UK

East Lancashire Partnership - construction of a Business Clusters Strategy for East Lancashire

Jan 2002 - December 2002

Lancashire West Partnership ICT/New Media Business Needs Assignment (UK)

Nov 2001

Yorkshire & Humberside

Facilitation work for Government Office, Yorkshire & Humberside on South Yorkshire Objective One High Technology Clusters

October 2001 - February 2002

East Lancashire

East Lancashire Partnership - production of development agenda and a criterion for supporting specific business clusters.

October 2001


Yorkshire Forward Clusters Fact-Finding Visit to Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttemberg

September 2001 - December 2001

East Midlands

Consultant to EMDA/ENGAGE East Midlands project on Clusters in Voluntary Sector

September 2001 - June 2002


Expert on Clusters Strategy to PHARE programme, Bulgaria

July 2001


Creative Industries Clusters Conference, National Football Museum, Preston, Lancashire (2nd National Conference Promoted & Organised by

March 2001


J Murray: Speaker/Provocateur: DTI National Conference on Cluster Strategy, Nottingham

Jan 2001 - July 2001


Creative Industry Clusters in Greater Preston area - Mapping and Action planning

Jun 2000


Inaugural Clusters Conference: Heathrow Hilton (Promoted & Organised by

Jun 2000

Jan - Nov 2000

Case Studies of 4 Clusters in Lancashire, West Midlands and London

Nov 1999


Paper - 'Cluster-Muster: Cluster-based Innovation and Growth Management for European SMEs' - awarded best paper at the 1999 ISBA National Small Firms Policy & Research Conference

Sept 1999 - Dec 2000


West London Chamber of Commerce, Hounslow, West London - zonal projects. Freight forwarding/Ethnic Businesses

Sept 1999 - July 2001

Birmingham, London and Lancashire

Clusters Champion, TIILT ADAPT Project, Birmingham, London and Lancashire (with University of Central England in Birmingham).



Park Royal, West London Regeneration projects - Food/IT clusters.



Oswaldtwistle/Burnley/Preston ERDF projects - Lancashire Business Development zones (with Marketing officers)

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